Night Madness / by Poetry Lab

Write a poem in which the speaker is estranged from a lover, either by temporary or permanent distance.

Constraint: 20 lines or less

Challenge: begin the poem by using one of these as a ghost line

“I have the magic of words,
the power to charm and kill at will”

“I want you inside
the mouth of my heart”

“You were the shadow of a cloud cross-
ing over a field of tulips”

“What matters is to be 
inside the prayer of your body”

“Even now, under this welcome 
Rain,

“I’m a woman delighted with her disasters”

—Sandra Cisneros

A ghost line is a line from another poem that you use to help you begin your own. Use the line as a launch pad. You can write from it by continuing an image, responding to its observation, arguing, agreeing, or answering. Once your poem is written, the ghost line disappears. The line literally ghosts away—it was only meant to be a starting place. Sometimes poems written from a ghost will give the credit of “after Sandra Cisneros,” but this is at the poet’s discretion. Remember that the ghost line is not yours, but the poem you create from its inspiration is. Always give credit where credit is due.