Before the poet was a poet
nothing was reworked:

not the smudge of ink on twelve sets of clothes
not the fearsome top berth on the train
not a room full of boxes and dull windows
not the cat that left its kittens and afterbirth in a pair of jeans
not doubt.

Before the poet was a poet
everything had a place:

six years were six years                       parallel lines followed rules
like obedient children
[the Dewey Decimal System]
                                                                       homes remained where they’d
                                                                        been left.

Before the poet was a poet
many things went unseen:

clouds sometimes wheedled a ray out of the sun| parents kept photographs under                                                     their pillows| letters never said everything they wanted to| lectures were interrupted                                              by a commotion of leaves |                 | every step was upon a blind spot.