I always call it ‘my first daft’ because I let the ideas roll recklessly out of my mind onto the page. No censoring, no editing. That comes later. That comes at the draft stage. For the moment what you have before you, were you to read it, is ‘daffy’, it makes little or no sense. It is amorphous writing. This little piece began amorphously, no punctuation, grammar awry, phrases all jumbled like a Rubik’s Cube before it is solved. If you’re in a hurry, if the ideas are rushing past, then daft writing is the way to go.
But I wrote it before her daughter …. I protested.
Doesn’t matter. She needn’t be reminded of it.
I can’t take it back. It’s out there now.
You didn’t have to give her the book the poem was in. Each time she reads it she’ll be reminded.
You could have pulled it, he said. It didn’t have to be there.
He was right. It didn’t. But it was a good poem. My editor said it had to go in. Anyway it wasn’t about Jess. It was written about a tumor I had seen in Scientific American, how beautiful it was, how like the wings of a butterfly unfurling into the hemispheres of the brain.