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.
Last Day! Maybe that’s why I had high school on my mind…sort of feel like I used to at the end of a school year — happy it’s over, but a little sad to be leaving the daily comfort/routine/adventure/terror/awkwardness. Today’s prompt called for a “bygone” poem, which fit nicely with my nostalgia. Though, I think what I actually wrote is a “boygone” poem.
There was a boy I needed. Flannel shirt, black glasses, skinnier than his walk and taller than my dad. A boy who kept jack-in-the-boxing into my life, even though he went to a school way across town. A rich kid, probably, but I didn’t hold it against him. He liked drama. He liked Stone Temple Pilots. He liked rye and coke. He liked Anne Rice. This seemed like enough. We danced to Madonna’s ‘Rain’ and said we both hated it, but it’s gilded now. When I hear it, I can still feel the heat of his hand on my lower back, the smell of his Speed Stick, and the prickle in the place I wanted him to kiss.
Today’s prompt asked for a “What I meant to say” poem. I recycled/added to an older poem I had started, because it seemed to fit the prompt quite nicely.
No one ever believes the unwatched candle will burn down the house. Or things not said can turn to tumours. In his garden, knees to the dirt, the sting of thistle on his thumb, he remembers why he started that kiss all those years ago. Remembers the why, not the kiss itself. Heat beneath her maroon sweater, but not her tongue. Something festers. Some things fester for the better, he used to think. Last he heard, she was living in California. He wonders if she’s growing anything other than older.