Now that the manuscript is finished, all the questions answered
and one poem removed,
I'm having second thoughts.
What about what I didn't do? I wrote from the gut, I revised from the gut,
I incised and included suggestions, tweaked the titles—
I revised, but I did not exercise,
did not underline what must stay and jettison the rest,
did not cut each phrase into a paper strip and play with placement,
did not stretch my lines out long like spaghetti
or chop them short like onions diced
(the sound of the knife on the cutting board).
I did not try all the tricks from all the classes
I've taken on what to take out.
Maybe I did not try enough. After all, I want them to be good
and better than good, the best I can write.
Maybe I am not trusting my gut.
I can send this book out and take my chances,
or I can start from scratch, start over, start hard.
Tell me No. Tell me Not now. Not yet.