A Poem
after Heather McHugh
By Esther Altshul Helfgott

A poem is a space
and an unspace.

It is all:
and half of all –
a third of half
and a tenth of that.
A poem floats

yet touches:
a finger,
an eye.

A poem’s content
and form are sublime:

yet, narrow
and broad: a poem

is speechless
with sound.

Such is ambiguity:
it lives in every act.

the poem is an act.

The poem is an act:
an event
is an act.

the poem

is an event. Even more -
than that.

Esther Altshul Helfgott is a Seattle writer and writing consultant. She teaches creative writing at Richard Hugo House, has a doctorate in history from the University of Washington and has published in numerous in-print and online journals. She has been teaching writing classes and workshops for over 20 years and especially enjoys working one-on-one with writers who feel stuck or who have a hard time getting started. "To me writing means communication and community, getting to know each other. It also means studying, reading and honing one's craft." Esther's chapbook, The Homeless One: A Poem in Many Voices, was published by KotaPress in 2000. She can be reached at www.members.home.net/eahelfgott


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