National Writing Project

Inspiration

By: Randy Koch
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4
Date: 2004

Summary: A poem by Randy Koch.

 

I'm looking for my voice, the one
that speaks when I'm asleep or on
the verge of sleep, the one that guides
my hand when my mind wanders, that
lives deep inside like a child hiding in a
closet, bathed in darkness but anxious
to be found. I've heard it on occasion,

the words tumbling together like
water falling in a sheet, gathering
inside swells of land and rising in a
wave, cresting, threatening to wash
over me, but then it settles back, as
if it evaporated even before the
motion went out of its limbs.

And now I wait here, hunting for the
moment when it will come again,
and I'll let it ride my hand, be the voice
that leads me out of the narrow space
between lines, past all the hollow
days of hunger and motion. I wait,
and sometimes in the small, sure

turn of a d or the brisk christening
of a t I feel it more than hear it,
and I know that if I stay, it'll return,
show itself in the light reflected off
the bank windows and walk the margin
of the fence like a possum at dawn
when night drops away, soaking into

the shadows around the base of mesquites,
inside the culverts under Calton Road,
gathering on crows who know they're
black only in the daytime, settling into
the small space behind the shoe box filled
with photos of people I no longer remember,
the space where once I could draw my

knees to my chest and rest my face on their
caps, still in the corner of the closet where
the air was gradually becoming me.

About the Author Randy Koch directs the writing center at Texas A&M International University, writes a monthly column called "On Writing" for LareDOS: A Journal of the Borderlands, and is a teacher-consultant with the South Texas Writing Project in Laredo, Texas.

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