Overnight, cold rain fell. Ice on the porch steps. Ice on the walkway. Morning moon. Hissing from the old radiator, the soundtrack of winter.
From notes, a list of rules:
- The poem should be 32 lines long.
- The poem should contain four complete sentences and one must be a question.
- Line 11 should end with continuing punctuation (e.g., dash or semicolon).
- Name of one foreign food.
- Name of a street.
- One abstraction (e.g., sadness, love)
- One non-primary color.
Force two poems to fight it out.
Force every type of sentence into a poem.
There are fifteen things you must get into this poem.
Make lists as an easy way to get it all in:
- Think about a person you were once close to, but not now.
- Make a confession or ask a question.
- One thing you wish you could forget.
- List of facts. Little-known facts.
- A person who has misunderstood you.
This morning, the radiator sounds like my father snoring. Deep, breathy, predictable patterns.
Man walks past my window with a knit hat pulled down over his ears. Such wind.
I saved a bit of twig you picked up for me on a walk once. Through the trees that were covered with green moss. Tucked it into a glass on my desk where I keep my pencils and pens. This morning while worrying it in my hands, I broke it. I am trying not to make everything into something larger than what it is, but still: If one is looking to read meaning into the smallest of things, one will not be disappointed.
A specific unraveling. Or:
Laying down at the altar of unnamed, inarticulate faith.
Already, it is light now.
Snow on the ground and ice.
Already, seemingly endless winter.
Summer at the old house: A dog falls asleep on the hosta and crushes it.
Winter: I do not remember winter.
Spring: Paper lanterns strung from clothing line.
Here is a bit of memory: My father in a red plaid bathrobe. My father in a blue striped shirt. My father’s tie is too wide. My father’s pants are too short. My father sitting in a chair with the light dim. My father’s upturned palms. My father’s voice: Little bunny. Hey, bunny.
All our fathers.