Writing with Joyce Sutphen

Yesterday I attended the Writer’s Fair at the Chanhassen Library. One of the presenters was Minnesota’s own Poet Laureate, Joyce Sutphen. She recited poetry to us. Near the end of her hour, she read “April” by Connie Wanek. We were to listen for a word, phrase or image that drew us in. Then we all wrote for 8 minutes. A room of writers wonderfully writing. Including Sutphen.

I loved the phrase “sleet…precipitation by committee”, but chose to write on “You are free to be water now.” Here’s what I wrote, raw and unedited:

Yes, please, snow, go be water, sink down into the ground, slowly, surely, softening, thawing the earth. But not too much at once, no floods please.

Don’t send all our water, our green-grass water, swooshing down the streets, pouring into the sewers, rushing into our streams, rivers, lakes, carrying too many nutrients, too much garbage, too much salt, sand, unraked leaves, soaked tree-cutting flyers and unpicked up dog poop.

Freeze and thaw, freeze and thaw, let the water seep inch by inch through the soil, down to the groundwater. The soil cleans the water, contains the water, filters the nasty out.

I cackle at the snow melting, melting away, free to be water, no more crystals, no more structure, just liquid and flow. Be gone snow. Where I shoveled is now clear by the radiance of the sun. But my neighbors have boycotted shoveling in April. I still have to put my boots on, but I will not retrieve my winter coat from the closet.

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