National Poetry Writing Month 2019 Day #2 (pt. 1)

Here I use the prompt provided by poet (and bookstore owner) Chris Jarmick on his blog, POETRYisEVERYTHING.

This prompt is basically the same as last year’s prompt for Day 18. As I did then, the poem I used for my line-by-line backwards response was ‘Ophelia’ from Janée J. Baugher’s book Coördinates of Yes. This time, I stuck more closely to the line structure of the original poem while writing, though I edited and revised according to my sense of the internal rhythm of this new poem.



Then my drooping fists,
lumbering, dumb;
for the seeds I sowed
there, nothing takes root in me.

Half-closed mouth    full-lidded eyes
rattling sharply in my skull;
swaddled tight, in stretched pelt.

Ripping up roots with purpose,
straining away from stagnant ponds:
fallen petals;
birthplace of pestilence;
the grey retreat from floor to face.

These dried leaves
inking in thick pitch
my shrunken black shirt—
the one I gave up before taking this one.

A loose assortment of thorns, weeds, twigs, and rocks,
unbind the moment I announce my presence

Mud, sludge into earth,
the thick of the swamp…

It shrivels inside me over time
forever lightened to escape these bounds;

this skin.

(1 April 2019—posted April 2nd)