“Taking a cue from Bishop, I’d like to challenge you today to write a poem about an animal. If you’d like to take a look at some other poems for inspiration, you might like James Dickey’s “The Dusk of Horses,” or Tennyson’s “The Eagle.””
Curious duckbilled thief, I caught you stealing time,
You peeped, squealed, rolled into corners where no one could peep.
Your black-eyes are wide, fluffy innocence peers back.
And your tiny lashes flick, as you hide within fur,
The jingle of coins jolts you, they roll ’round your tummy.
A Crown falls to the floor, you’re off running — to save what’s left of your treasure.
You’re sure no one will catch you– this time you’ve got us beat.
The royal jewels are in your fur-folds somewhere,
You’re a petty pad-foot, harmless, too snuggly for words;
You’re an armful of trickster; you hate being caught.
When I demand my wallet, my cash, and watch,
You cock your coal-dark head,
Perhaps, you didn’t know they were there at all? (You imply).
Tucked under belly rolls, in corners, and squishy edges,
I sigh, take back my treasure, hold out my hand, you chirp —
Duck billed platypus, creature of mole (some other beasts I imagine too).
Your thieveries a whimsy, but no ones fooled,
All you love is gold, silver if you must . . .
You’ll catch it in a sec, a poof of magic dust.
Your duckbilled lips smile, as you scamper down the stairs,
Yet, the things you hold dear, are the most worthless wares.
(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.)
Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!”
Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.”
June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?”
Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one.
He hadbeen since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after.
Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her.
Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend.
She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out.
“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests.
“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation.
Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move.
“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.”
Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?”
Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.”
Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?”
Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.”
Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him.
To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt.
“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.”
Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister.
Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?”
Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring.
June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony.
I’ll leave you behind, said the part of me that was in control.
I’ll take it as a sign, that you were never in my life
And the days pass by, the moon still gleams and I promise to forget
Haven’t let you go yet, I’m the keeper of a dream
Because you changed my life, made me see the strife, made me see
I wasn’t to be blamed. You can’t say that it was all my fault.
I was only 19. To young to barely see, what was right in front of me.
And the years passing by bring a new story alive, and I know now that dream.
Was never meant to be.
If you live in past, you’ll never move on
You’ll never grow strong, he’ll never be gone.
But your living life, like a thief in the night
Stealing time trying to forget.
First love, it is the painfullest
And oh baby, he’s gone.
So the years have passed by, in the blink of the old one’s eyes.
And you’ve made a new life, built a foundation from ashes.
The rubble it’s gone, he left the pieces when he moved on.
Still every now and then, you find yourself looking back.
Thinking why did I love, what I couldn’t have, that really wasn’t love at all.
And history repeats, like a native drum beat, repetitious and strong, don’t you see
I’ve never really moved on, you stole a part of me and she’s all gone.
I didn’t know it all along, that you took my past spun the present alive, made a web of mockery.
Mocked that I’d never have you.
If you live in the past, you’ll never move on
You’ll never grow strong, he’ll never be gone
But your living your life, like a thief in the night
Stealing time trying to forget.
First love is the painfullest
And oh baby, he’s gone.
Now you’re stronger then you think, you’ve got another dream to live.
A man who loves you best, if only time would allow you to forget, but you still regret
Your young and in love, what else could you need, you have the world before you
You have everything you’ve ever wanted to have, but your heart won’t let you forget
There’s still a part of him in you yet, he owns pieces of your nightmares.
He owns pieces of your fragile mind, and yet rejection made you what you are today.
A woman who knows better then to be undervalued again, and you’ll never move on
But you’ll be tougher knowing you’ve taken that road before and survived the fall.
Time has rolled on.
You’ll never forget
But thank God, baby, he’s gone.