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The pencil, it turns out,

has never contained lead.

It’s always been graphite—

a form of solid carbon.

How much of what we think

 

we know is just a mistaken story

passed on for centuries?

And the human body, it turns out,

contains enough carbon

for 9,000 pencils—

 

that is a fact of the world,

a fact like the distance

from earth to the moon,

a fact like 99 percent of all human DNA

is the same. I’d like to think I will use up

 

my pencils, one every three days,

writing the story of what it is

to be alive here, to fall in love,

to disagree, to fail, to try again.

I want to write of healing,

 

write of the autumn air,

how it touches everything

with its cool transparency.

Write of how we are here

to revel in beauty, to find ourselves

 

in each other, to serve a story greater

than the one we know how to write,

serve the story that even now

is writing us.

 

 

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Follow the Lead

 

 

a

single

pencil

can

make

a

line

thirty-

five

miles

long,

and

I

wonder

how

many

miles

of

poems

per

pencil—

and

wouldn’t

it

be

amazing

to

have

poems

scrawled

all

across

America—

323.1

million

pencils

worth—

all

of

them

sharpened

not

to

point

at

each

other

but

to

write

the

words

that

must

be

said,

telling

our

stories

and

leading

us

in

looping

lines

ever

closer

to

each

other

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