NaPoWriMo – Day One: Dupe


When I was told that for two years

you squeezed your eyelids shut

each time a sneeze scuttled upwards

and threatened your sinuses,

for fear of them bursting from their sockets,

I hid my smile with two hands of guilt.

I buried my bead of triumph.

That lick of power

burning like a forest fire in my lungs

as laughter bubbled in its pot

threatened to burst the lid,

and show the world how much I loved,

the idea that I had tricked you.

So fully,

so unintentionally well

that even your best friend failed

in convincing you it was a lie.


We’re finally here and I’m practically bouncing off the walls with excitement. As with every other year that I’ve taken part, I took one look at the prompt this morning and went “pftt, I can’t write something for that,” and walked away from it. A few hours later the little seed that it left in my brain came up with half an idea and I managed to write a poem for it.

The prompt was to write a poem based on a secret shame or a secret pleasure. This memory was actually a mixture of both. As a child I told my sister’s best friend that if she sneezed with her eyes open then her eyes would pop out, that’s why we close out eyes. It was nonsense of course but she believed me and years later my sister revealed that from that day on she’d taken to screwing her eyes shut in terror each time she sneezed for fear she’d accidentally leave them open and both her eyes would pop out.

It was one of those moments where you feel both mean and a little proud that you managed to trick someone so completely. It also made for the perfect response for this prompt.


    1. I’ve not heard of Billy Collins, I’ll have to look him up. Nice to meet a fellow NaPoWriMo participant. I’ll make sure to pop by and check out your work. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


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