10. (or 8) For a long time, if someone asked me what my favorite poem was, I’d answer “A Baby is Born out of a White Owl’s Forehead, 1972” by Alice Notley. I loved Notley’s poem for the last line "but first, for two years, there's no me here" which seemed like the most accurate description possible of what it felt like for me in the first two years after my second son was born. I felt so grateful that I had these lines. They meant so much to me. The “sentiment” was true and otherwise kept me afloat whenI felt alone and lied to. Recently (years later), I went back to Notley's poem when writing an essay (which has turned into a book about my mother and Notley and Graham and stories versus poems and memory) and I saw, underlined in my own hand, these other lines I didn't remember at all: "Of two poems one sentimental and one not/ I choose both" and I started to cry because that's everything I've tried to do in my poetry in the past 15 years.
Note: This piece first appeared in Pleiades.