When Do You Know a Poem’s Finished?

by Aidan Chafe

Every so often your words will make peace
with themselves. You will stop and stare,
as if flowers on display, absorb their colours,
pleased with the way you sorted them so.
Even if you have a compulsion to tinker,
ever so slightly, with the window arrangement,
you will sense you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t.
Imagine your teacher’s voice calling your hand
to put down the pencil, fingers to rest
from tap dancing on top of letters.
Consider the gardener who must wait months,
even years, to evaluate the fruits of her labour.
Think of a father who’s internalized the scope
of his efforts, and accepted it’s best to let go.

— from Juniper Volume 5, Issue 1