#NaPoWriMo – Day Ten – Clutter Bug

First it was the slugs,
then the pigeons, this year squirrels
and not just the one hiding shells
in the grates of our drain pipes.
This year there’s a pair of them
running track along the broken fence line.

Before dawn has chance to wake
I find myself at the garden doors
peering past my own reflection
to the plant pots dotted on the decking,
where their limp bodied residents
appear sleeping.

Copper tape will not keep out all pest.
Still it shines in a half open drawer,
clustered up to discarded work things
and old glasses cases,
the sweet pea seeds which failed this year,
but I’ve yet to throw the packet away.

Slot the box of business cards to the back,
hide them behind batteries
which are never the needed size,
and ink cartridges for a pen
I have never owned.
Forget that they were ever mine.

when all these little things seemed so necessary?
Why do I keep last year’s calendar
rolled up along the edge,
or an old wallet past holding onto much
except its few remaining stitches.

Before I have chance to explain myself
night is over,
outside becomes too bright
to keeps this drawer open or to look
at the brick of a phone hidden under cards
purchased for birthdays I never remember.

Finally, here’s our daily prompt (optional, of course!). It’s called “Junk Drawer Song,” and comes to us from the poet Hoa Nguyen.

  • First, find a song with which you are familiar – it could be a favorite song of yours, or one that just evokes memories of your past. Listen to the song and take notes as you do, without overthinking it or worrying about your notes making sense.
  • Next, rifle through the objects in your junk drawer – or wherever you keep loose odds and ends that don’t have a place otherwise. (Mine contains picture-hanging wire, stamps, rubber bands, and two unfinished wooden spoons I started whittling four years ago after taking a spoon-making class). On a separate page from your song-notes page, write about the objects in the drawer, for as long as you care to.
  • Now, bring your two pages of notes together and write a poem that weaves together your ideas and observations from both pages.

I wasn’t sure how day ten’s prompt was going to work out, and in the end it reads back a little chaotic, which is the same as my junk drawer so maybe that’s the perfect way for this poem to be.


  1. SQUIRREL i shout out every time i see one, even a photo. They are my all time favourite animal, magpie is my favourite bird, sharks are my favourite ocean animal and i guess my favourite human is my best friend Emily.


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