I realize that I am a recent poet
Upon reading her poetry
The woman I exchanged Earthy with this morning
She whose work is celebrated and precise and feels so different from mine

I realize comparison is not fair
(upon starting to compare)
To the unique presence and gifts
I offer, you offer, we offer
(I catch myself in time and remember)
Opening, honing skill, ripening
Is what I’m after

I do not choose self flagellation or slit throat criticism
For if I am to sing, I need those chords
And in order to strengthen them
I need to practice
And I realize yet again
Honing the heart is what I am for