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Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Poem

I am trying to write poems again and have been doing some of the exercises in poetry writing lesson book I used back in college.  This assignment was to brainstorm a list of different childhood memories and then work one of them into a poem of 35 lines or less.

I am generally a very positive person, but poetry allows me to explore the darker sides of my personality and also explore painful or challenging memories and experiences that inform my current writing practice.  I have always loved poetry because of the impact a few carefully chosen words can have on the reader.  I'm not sure if this one is "good" or not, but that's not the point.  I need to write and share my writing as part of my creative process.  Sharing my poetry is terrifying and risky but I love it.  Enjoy.

Guilt

You were so tiny in my hand;
pea-sized paws curled tight in agony,
ribs like brittle twigs pressed against
your soft brown fur.

Beads of panic and hands shaking,
I called for my mother.

You were just a science experiment;
I wanted you to run a maze.
You never wanted to be touched,
and strange nocturnal habits
banished you to the humid laundry room.

Many times forgotten in my adolescent haze
of boys and shaving my legs,
I'd glance at your cage
while grabbing my favorite jeans from the dryer
(acid washed, with a zipper on each ankle).
You slept in a tight ball,
up in your skybox,
food stashed away,
justified.

When I finally found you
barely breathing
curled desperately among
stored mounds of empty husks from seeds
and your own pellet-shaped waste,
the horror of neglect,
still so much a child I wanted to take you to the vet.
"Wait until morning," my mom said.

When the sun rose you were cold, small.
We buried you in the spot
where my swing set used to be.

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