A very specific prompt gave birth to this piece. I’ve been working and reworking it for two days. It was hard to make it flow. It still feels like there are splits in the piece; but I like it nonetheless. I included the prompt so you could see the inspiration. Donna Vorreyer posted it as a Saturday prompt last week on her blog, Put Words Together, Make Meaning :
Today’s poem comes from a prompt by Marty McConnell that she references in this interview in Muzzle Magazine, a fantastic journal.
(stanza 1) tell us what you are not
(stanza 2) say where the light comes from
(stanza 3) give three details about the hardest year of your life
(stanza 4) tell a lie about who you are
(stanza 5) tell us something you remember involving light
(stanza 6) share a good memory
(stanza 7) admit to the lie
(stanza eight) describe an object that exemplifies who/what you are.
Authoritarian rule is not my style.
Barking orders serves mushers—
living is not herding sheep.
When cheeks buoy receptive eyes
awareness shines its ideas.
Laughter illuminates authentic self.
For me, childhood ended in a rush.
Quick decisions forced action.
My savior died in exile.
I’m the person who never cares
what you think about me.
Like anything you have to say matters.
Lightning cracked open the sky
and the outlines of three tethered elephants
flashed wet in the Nepalese jungle night.
During that journey, children kept petting my hair
and a water buffalo mired in mid-river muck
brought dark men wearing dhotis in from the fields.
I remember worrying what they thought
of the white American girl standing
atop of her 25th year, thin blonde and trembling.
I am clay, malleable by happenstance
shape-shifting from one life to the next
traveler, teacher, mother, lover—mold me.
Thank you to Writer's Island for a place to post every day all month long, and always on Saturdays.