Poem 1

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It’s day 3 of National Poetry Writing Month, but here is poem 1. Untitled so far, and in rough draft state as these all will be, more or less. The prompt was, “That it is not an emptiness. It is not a lack.”

If you saw the blank way she turns her face
toward the bright of the blood-red blooms
scattered along the bank of her mother’s brook,
the one back behind grandmother’s barn
the one we splashed in, but she couldn’t.

If you saw it, you would feel
sorrow for her lack
of beauty known, the absence of
the rush of blood to the heart
the hammering breast bearing with it
an air hunger like the little gasps
of first kisses, first rides on the wooden
coaster, the little thrills of a life
taken for granted.

You would feel pity perhaps.

Oh, but underneath
is not an emptiness, is not a lack
She knows better, at least
she feels better than we.
It is a dream day, she knows, and
tonight the tip of the crescent moon
will hit the crest of the roof just right,
and the glow drip down its slope like
a blanket enfolding her.

Even animals understand
the tone of words chosen carefully
like strange and child and SHE,
the unkind dissonance between laden
and precise denotative meaning

So the blank turn of her face
back to her mother’s call, toward
the care-weary strain and disappointment
in her own name thrown from
her mother’s lips,
was not an emptiness, was not a lack.
It was an armor.

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