The Cotton Poet

Like soft cotton
in medicinal vials,
the poet exists
to fill, to soften,
to preserve, to keep
things fresh, alive,
even if they seem dead.
She recounts the things
she gets from parents,
children, teachers, women,
men, ants, and trees.
She knows the source
of sun by day and
light by night.
Sometimes she wonders
what she adds
to this solid
circle’s rolls.
Then she recalls
that cotton fluffs
can be
squeezed, expand,
be cut, pulled,
torn—and still
exist, make room
for air or keep it
out, and claiming
no name,
she spreads herself
around the globe,
sticking at its
corners, and reaches
for its core.

One of Howard Sage’s poems won a first prize in the adult division of the 2012 Greenburgh, New York annual poetry contest. Read other articles by Howard.