PAD 2020 – Day 28

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asked poets to describe a bedroom from their past. It served as a good prompt to combine with the Poetic Asides call for a “look back or don’t look back” poem.  The first place my mind looked back to was the room I slept in when I visited my grandparents as a child.

 

Visiting

 

Four of us

crammed in the small bedroom at the Cook Street house,

afterthought lined with wood paneling.

Adjunct to the crowded porch where Grandpa kept his freezer full of meat

and Grandma kept her boxes of unused Avon products,

bought to appease her persistent neighbour.

My brother, notorious snorer, got the living room couch,

but Grandpa and Grandma thought they were treating my sister and me

to the thin mattress on the floor, giving Mom and Dad the luxury

of the spare double bed in the very same room. A small window

that opened halfway, only deliverance from the stale space.

I couldn’t stay on my side of the mattress, so my sister kicked. We both yelled.

Mom scolding us to be quiet, while Dad slept on. Oblivious.

They lived too far away to make quick trips,

so we’d spend a week of nights in that tiny space, darker than my dark

at home, I was even a little grateful for my sister’s closeness.

In the morning, awoken by chickadees in the caragana shrub,

the scent of Grandpa frying last night’s ham, I liked being the first

one to open my eyes. To sneak off the mattress, navigate the

tiny path, strewn with off-cast blankets, my Dad’s slippers,

to make it to the door. Opened it slow as syrup, to quiet the creak.

 

 

Door Knob

 

 

 

 

PAD 2019 – Day 11

Another prompt mix, taking the NaPoWriMo suggestion to write a poem of emotional, physical or geographical origin, and the Poetic Asides call for a dedication poem.

 For All The Feline Confidantes

 

In the smallest bedroom

with the brightest carpet

I remember sunlight waking me

before I was supposed to leave my bed.

Then by the squeak of a door, left open a crack

to tame the night dark, I knew our black cat,

had entered to offer a morning greeting.

 

Strange to say a cat could be your first real friend,

but there he was — my playmate, consoler, the best listener.

On nights when my parents’ arguing spilled under closed doors,

their raised voices disturbing so much more than my sleep,

the cat’s warm body, steady purr, comforting me.

 

This morning I find my daughter, damp-eyed and tense,

running over worst case scenarios about a spelling test she thinks she’ll fail,

a friend who doesn’t seem to like her anymore, whether she’ll have time

to practice her drums well enough before her next lesson.

Big worries wracking a small body.

My  words of reassurance interrupted by our grey cat, pushing into the room,

jumping on her bed and curling up on her belly. She asks me to leave,

tells me she’ll be out in a minute, and as I close the door, I see her lean over,

whisper into his ear. Grateful she has a safe soul to help carry her fears.

PAD 2019 – Day 3

I managed to write two poems today, but one is not ready for public viewing. This one is based on a real-life incident with my daughter yesterday, and fit nicely with the Poetic Asides prompt asking for an “animal” poem.

 

What Animals Do

 

Talking fast like kids do

after a day of keeping quiet and calm

my daughter tells me about the playground discovery

a dead squirrel

encircled by a group of seven year olds

curious to discover meaning

in its still body.

 

There was a bone sticking out

with blood on it,

my daughter reports,

then drops the subject

like her backpack

and forages in the pantry

for a snack.

 

Did the dead squirrel make you upset?

I ask later, and she replies with a shrug.

Then her brow furrows with thought.

It was probably a cat, or a dog,

just doing what animals do.

NaPoWriMo – Day 16

The NaPoWriMo.net prompt today asked for a poem that features play. Made for a nice compliment to the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a “favourite” themed poem.  It was an easy trip back to some of my favourite childhood memories.

My Favourite Game

 

You hide, I’ll seek

my way back to

summer nights when light graces us until ten.

Any kid from around the block can join in.

Start after supper,

save the jump-out-scares

until after the little ones have gone home to bed.

 

Watch out

for the snarling German Shepherd in the backyard

of the white split-level with the green door.

His chain’s always stretched so tight.

 

Watch out

for the old lady in the brown stucco house.

who paid good money for those bedding plants

and doesn’t need them trampled by the likes of us.

 

Count to fifty,

because one hundred takes too long

and twenty’s not enough to scatter.

First one found is the next seeker

and when Glenn plays, we all seek

Like a roach, that boy, able to slip

into the tightest, darkest places.

 

Olly olly oxen free — come out, come out,

wherever you are, whoever you are.

We want to play again. Another round

until the sun goes down, until someone

gets a sliver,

twists an ankle,

pees their pants.

 

Come back tomorrow.

Meet at the garbage bin at the end of the alley,

with “Sara Loves Josh B.” written in Sharpie.

Count heads, pick partners (if it’s a twosome round),

draw rocks for first seeker. No cheating — you hear that Matt?

Have fun.

November PAD – Day 26

Today’s prompt asked for a “shine” poem. Took snips of inspiration from seasonal lights and Pink Floyd.

26.

We put up Christmas lights yesterday. A first for us. Another change made for our girls. A way to make their faces glow like they do when we’re out driving after dark, and they compete to see who can shout it first, ‘Look at that one!’ pointing to every glittering tree. Every light-trimmed gable. I smile, even though I don’t feel it the same way they do. Think of that Pink Floyd song and wonder, do I actually remember being young? Shining like the sun. Maybe a diamond, until I reached for the secret too soon. Innocence, yes it glows. We all need a reminder sometimes. A shimmer in the cold night.

 

November PAD – Day 12

Today’s prompt was to write a “transformation” poem. What I ended up with is almost a found poem, inspired by the wisdom and optimism of my daughter.

12.

On our way to art class, my daughter tells me she’ll paint a butterfly. It’s animal day, and though she thinks a butterfly is not really an animal in the same was as the zebra or pig her sister will surely paint, she thinks it will still count. Why do you like butterflies, I ask? Because of the change, she says. Metamorphosis,  I offer, and she nods. Our change is slow, she explains, but so much the same. When she sees herself in baby photos, she recognizes the girl she knows now. We grow, she says, but a butterfly transforms. And I admit I had never considered the distinction. Who could ever look at the fat, furry caterpillar, crowded with legs and so bound to the ground, and expect it to sprout wings — ornate, delicate wings — and suddenly know how to soar? And later, when she shows me the painting, I note the bright hues of red and orange, the yellow body, and a small black face, cartoonish and human, smiling in the centre of the canvas. Your butterfly is happy, I say. Of course, she smiles back, what’s the point of changing if you don’t change into something better?