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.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 26

Following the NaPoWriMo.net prompt today to write a poem using the five senses. Was a bit short on time due to traveling, but did get some sense memory inspiration to write this short poem.

Inserting Our Daughters Into Memories Again

Even when they’re not with us, before they even were,

we remember them. Today it was on a plane, the last

time we flew to our once-home. The stench of jet fuel

filling the back of the cabin on take-off — how we worried

it might induce our youngest’s asthma. The sweet taste

of cold orange juice on our dry throats — remember how

our oldest called it orandu? The high-pitched shrieks

of a toddler, three rows back, tired and scared  — we held

our girls, too. One on each of our laps. Their soft, warm

cheeks against ours as we intoned shh shh shh shh

like a prayer. And look, out the window. Those plush

clouds below. The sun’s spinning them into gold. Hurry,

take it all in before we blink and forget.

NaPoWriMo – Day 24

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for an elegy, with a tinge of hope. My daughter’s provided the inspiration.

Elegy for a Ladybug

My daughters come in from the yard,
the younger one kneels by the door
her hands cupping something.
The older one digs in a drawer
for paper, scissors, tape and a marker
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Making something important,” she replies.
They whisper together, then the older one
begins cutting and writing.

“Come here Mom,” they say
and I walk to their crouched figures
expecting a shout of Boo! or a giggle
or to see they’ve been up to something
sneaky but innocent.
Instead, my older daughter says,
“We’re going to say nice things about
this dead ladybug we found outside.”

There, on the floor, a ladybug husk,
its bold red muted to a brownish orange.
She’s taped to a paper, with the words
R.I. P. Ladybug, ? — 2018
scrawled on top in blue.
A plastic case set on top,
keeping her, like Snow White.

“She was pretty, and bright,” my young daughter begins.
“She was good at flying and crawling, and though
we don’t know how long she lived, she probably
had a nice life,” my older daughter says. “Your turn, Mom.”

I find my own mouth empty, at first,
my thoughts too full of gratitude for my girls,
but I meet their sweet and sombre tone,
“We wish we could have known her while she lived.”

My older daughter nods, gently picks up
the paper and the plastic case, sets it
on a cabinet, between a painting she made
and an overgrown spider plant.
“A nice place to rest,” she says.
Nature is safe in these small hands.