The birds build nest from found objects up in the eaves of my house where I have no place to call a home mine. Fragile window-frames of splintered straws, postcard door fluttering off its hinges. I stack these pieces on top of each other, ring the patio table in old newspapers, and build myself something small, contained, a space to fill up with just me and leave no part abandoned. When winter cracks against the garden, steps up to the windows, climbs the brickwork, I understand better why the birds all left when the leaves turned gold. These nest are skins for the shedding, a stripping out of last year’s hide, before the cold can come and take.
Tonight I’m writing for the DVersePoetics Prompt, where we’ve been asked to “write a poem in the first person that compares some trait of ours with something animal”, taking inspiration from Marjorie Saiser’s poem ‘The Print The Whales Make’.
There was a sign propped up against the empty doorframe which read “If you are a dreamer, come in” except the paint had chipped, and instead of dreamer it read dream. ‘So?’ asked his wife. ‘Are you going in or not?’ She stood on tiptoes and tried to peer through one of the windows. Graham thought he saw her shiver, and for a moment started to shrug the jacket from his shoulders. ‘It looks abandoned.’ She stepped away and scowled. ‘You copied out the right address, didn’t you?’ Graham nodded, then felt his heart sink. An old lady stepped into the hall, the edges of her body blurring against the peeling wallpaper. ‘Oh,’ said his wife, now stood behind him. ‘She’s like me!’ She grinned and poked him in the ribs. ‘Poor Graham, can’t even find a living physic to help with your ghosts.’
If you are a dreamer, come in.
Shel Silverstein’s poem, Invitation, Where The Sidewalk Ends
For someone who doesn’t read a lot of horror/ghost stories, and can’t really watch the genre either, I seem to write a fair bit of it. I find I really adore these monthly Prosery prompts as there a great way to stretch the creative writing muscles when my focus has drifted away from flash fiction. It helps that Lillian picked a cracking line of poetry for tonight’s prompt as well.
In some exciting poetry news however, this week I’ve got two poems coming out, in two seperate magazines. The first was published on Sunday in the second issue of The Riverbed Review which is available to read for free on their site. The second is my poem ‘Overgrowth’, which I originally wrote for a Dverse prompt and is being published Wednesday, (with a couple of edits) in the first issue of Hencroft. A lot of journals and magazines do not accept poems that have appeared on blogs or social media previously, so I’m ecstatic to have the chance to publish with a magazine that didn’t mind.
Pleaded innocent for hours, reading as guilty when she protested in that shrieking, crackle voice
and choked on communion wine prayers with her mouth full of spells.
It does people some good roping up witches, purging evil from the world
the woman is blamed.
I’m mixing two prompts this evening. NaPoWriMo’s Day Five challenge to mirror the layout and of an existing poem that I admire, (I chose a Fiona Benson poem from her collection ‘Vertigo & Ghosts’) and the DVersePoets Quardrille prompt: wine. During the 17th century there were a number of ‘tests’ to prove the innocence or guilt of a person accused of witchcraft. One of those ‘tests’ was to offer them communion or to have them recite the Lord’s Prayer. If they choked, of stumbled over the words then it was proof of their guilt. Fiona Benson’s poem [not-Zeus:Medusa I] ends on the line “the woman is blamed” which I’ve kept the same, but I’ve not followed the syllable count exactly.
Each evening I begin unwinding myself, searching out the teasing thread that will lead to the knots wrangled tighter each day. As if I am a set of headphones snaring pocket lint in my tangled nets until I’ve frayed too far, and simply snap.