Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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My English Teacher Tells Me

Choose your vocabulary
with great precision

I prune stubborn shoots
reaching out from buried roots

Try to dream
in the language
you wish to speak

I hang lanterns of words
in the trees of this expansive night

Your writing describes
but does not tell what happens

I launch an excavation for events
trapped in the strata of Arabic
unweaving carpets of words

Begin with what happened first
then work forward.

I reach across the edge of yesterday
for dream
and patient, ripening,
its tender petals.

Cite specific examples
to support your case.

In the skin of forbid
shines the crescent of sacred
a month of wars deferred.

On the pages of memorize
the ink reveals protection
a guardian ready to recite.

Try to include
the most relevant details.

The hollows of write
are lined with bookshelves.  

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