Sewing a Kayak

The best kayaks
in the world
were sewn by the wives
of Inuit hunters,
because a single bad stitch
meant the loss
of husband and hunter and food
and warmth and simple honor.

But what does it mean for a poet
to write a bad poem?

Do we sit with our children
at the dinner table,
wife sullen, the kids,
their eyes burning shame,
because they know
there was a poor word.
Everyone was talking about it.
A dull metaphor sank the boat.
The house melted.
For want of a syllable
we lay on the ice.

And in the drawer,
as though we could hide it,
a stinking
sunk poem.