Words fail me. Literally.
Or maybe I’ve failed words.
I’m not a thesaurus.
So what. I chose to aim
for the bull’s-eye word,
to hit the verbal nail square
on the head, to chase after
the right word, to find
le mot juste lost at the tip
of my tongue like the retracted
nib of a ballpoint pen.
to discover the sesame word
opening imagination’s
sluicegate and flowing into
the poem-to-be.

William Swarts is the author of Harmonies Unheard, Strickland Plains and Other Poems, and Treehouse of the Mind. He won First Prize in Litchfield Review’s annual Poetry Contest. He received his B.A. in English Literature from Brown University, his J.D. from University of Pennsylvania and practiced law in New York City and Paris, France.