from The Atlantic
No poet who grew up in a home without books writes alone. I'm companion to a semi-literate muse, feathered gossip who will sit in a tawdry dress on my shoulder. Sometimes she will whisper lines into my ear, lovely conjectures and occasionally laughable ditties. I will then share my poem first with my wife, who wears not a tawdry dress but stylish clothes and, hey, are those Jimmy Choos on her feet? She'll look at my creation—this week it's a poem debating whether my hearing is really gone—and she'll frown sourly as she reaches for a red pencil from the canister on my desk. When she finishes with this first draft, my poem will be lashed with suggestions. It'll be bleeding but a heartbeat will be present.