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I like to write poems on rocks. River rocks. Smooth ones. Black Sharpie works best.


Luckily, rocks are easy to find. By a river, of course, or, if you’re in the city, in parking lots where landscapers have used rounded gray rocks instead of planting gardens.


Sometimes, just one word is enough to make a poem. “Resilience,” for instance. Or “unfurling.” Or “yes.” But usually, I write three lines—they fit well on a rock the size of my palm.


They don’t have to be good poems, I tell myself, but they do have to be true. Sometimes I make several dozen at once, then gather them in a canvas bag. It gets heavy when I use big rocks, but there’s something marvelous about the weight of a poem. Then I leave them around town. On fenceposts. Sidewalks. Windowsills. On public benches and in stairwells, in shopping carts and on restroom sinks. I feel like the Easter Bunny.


I never put my name on them. They were never mine. And always, within a day, someone has taken them. I like to think they keep the poems. I like to think they give them away. I like to think the poems travel places I’ll never see. The thrill of them disappearing is always new. I like to think it matters, what we do.

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