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 Napowrimo.net 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,
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:
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;
(1 April 2019—posted April 2nd)