It’s a triple prompt attempt! Today the prompt at Poetic Asides called for a doodle poem, This is Not A Literary Journal said toss in some words — themed or un-themed — to make a poem salad, and NaPoWriMo central calls for a flower poem. So, here I tried to mash them all together. Not sure it worked all that well, but it was fun!
Names for Girls
At month four, when it got real,
when we stopped thinking about it
as a maybe and more of a must be;
when those who knew me, but not
well enough to know, thought I’d
just gained a few over Christmas;
when we felt safe enough to
say it out loud, to doodle on scrap
paper — side silhouettes of me
like a pear, two big hearts and a small,
or pretty names in loopy letters;
when we started to make lists,
compare and overrule, roll
the sounds around our tongues,
that’s when the flowers started.
I was pinned to Daisy for weeks,
the pertness of it, the simplicity,
and had you nearly convinced
until we both thought: Daisy Duck,
Daisy Duke, lazy, crazy, rhymes with
Daisy, and it withered. Rose was too
old-fashioned, Jasmine too Disney,
Dahlia too lah-dee-dah and lately
Lillies were popping up everywhere.
I offered Calla instead, but you wrinkled
your nose, tossed Poppy back at me,
but I saw kind toothless grandpas.
Lotus seemed perfect, for one moment of
Zen, and we both pondered Iris for awhile.
Blossoming names and inked flowers
marking the margins while I sat in meetings,
trying to freewrite the one that would fit.
At month five, the anatomy check,
two arms, two legs, good heart and big
brain, but a nudge in my belly still
wouldn’t get it to flip — a modest one
in there. Shrinking violet or a shy little guy.
It was too hard to tell, and I turned to ask,
How about boys named after cities?
Writing a list of flower names made me think of “For the Roses” by Joni Mitchell, which, lyrically, isn’t about flowers at all. What it is, in both melody and verse, is remarkable. Not every songwriter is a poet, but Joni is. Her deftness with the pen as well as the guitar was introduced to me by my high school creative writing teacher, who I might describe as Joni’s number one fan. He worshiped her, and spread the gospel to his students. True fact: Joni actually attended my former high school in Saskatoon, several decades before me of course. But her photo was in our trophy case as tribute, and the art, music and writing teachers all held her up as an example of what we could become…if only. Read and listen to the 1972 song “For the Roses” here.