#NaPoWriMo Day 2: Poem – Free Verse — “To Live” #amwritingpoetry


For NaPoWriMo Day 2, the prompt is:

“Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.”


Credit: Ben White via Unsplash.


Sometimes I’m the spirit child,

Forever pigeon- faced cooing.

Sometimes I’m one-hundred-and-one,

Lapis Luzia blue eyes and crinkled skin,

As seconds tick, shoes tap the floor.

But to whose office am I called, faded bloom or seedling?

Sometimes I am the unsinkable youth,

Glorying in winds, summer wind’s bustle at midnight.

2:00 a.m. suppers, 2:00 p.m. breakfast –swallowed with Advil;

But sometimes it’s Aspirin, to thin retirement blood.

At times 2:00 A.M. is cornpops and milk,

When chicken breasts on salads, and protein shakes are grim;

I can’t swallow cardboard, but I’m not — I’ve tastebuds functioning.

Shall I have my shake to slim my physique?

Or, drink it too keep my nutrition in-sink?

Who wants to age frail, but neither do we want to be fat,

I think we never win,

Time is outside our boundaries.

And, sometimes I’m a teenager rolling with puppies,

With floppy ears and downy fur,

Tummy bare, rounded.

Sometimes my chest flutters, absorbing nips and belly rubs,

Because in such a short time,

She wheezed and I couldn’t awake to be there.

I knew enough, in the stillness of her beauty, what no breath meant.

Age took not her thick coat,

Only transported her to Elysian Fields,

Where we could not be together.

Sometimes I’m her bouncing through fields, cornering chipmunks,

Snuggling in the pack and running for miles.

Then, I’m the patient who’s wistful at her energetic tail.

Too tired to think beyond, the glory of her life,

To stretch and tag along at first so slow,

As she springs off of trees and barks like a bandit;

But, then I’m strong enough to ferry her across death’s rivers.

Later, I’m the painter with jubilant dreams,

Charcoal smudged, thick acrylics, immersed in sunlight.

Or, am the father-tree thick, ever-growing,

Am I one-hundred-and-fifty, here first;

Branches upswept, trailing the clouds.

But, you rip me out, brutally, as a beating heart,

My roots torn, paper shredded.

You make room for your concrete, your steel,

Your building and students, who know not my ghost.

Am I anyone or anything because I was?

Am I anything, was I once?

Now, I’m the knowledge they learn flourishing,

Then, I’m deep, rich dirt.

Reminded that in all homelands,

That all our histories are layer-upon-layer,

Sediment shattered, walls reconstructed.

Fire, earth, wind, and water didn’t end us —

What does? Will they remember before?

But then, I’m the tiniest weed, and still I live,

What’s life?

Your perception of what it is to be alive?


©️Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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