I wrote this poem at an amazing training I attended last Saturday. It has been a long time dream of mine to write poetry with at risk teens and a group called Pongo has been doing just that, working for years with young adults in shelters, juvenile detention centers and state institutions. This powerful quote sums up the process, "Through writing kids learn that they are not terrible people, but that terrible things happened to them." Resilience and hope are the most common outcomes of shared writing. When I wrote this poem I later thought, I miss so many more things, but I am letting this stand :)
I got lost driving to Seattle today,
wound up under the freeway onramps,
solid battleships above me
as I straddled the old road,
train tracks shiny black licorice.
I miss times that existed before I was born,
before billboards and brightly
colored cars and clothing.
In my soul I am wearing linen,
riding on running boards,
my kids are excited about new marbles.
Instead of trading a yellow for a blue cat’s eye,
we stare at our phones, slick and rectangular
as plastic boxes holding decks of cards.
We lie together each scrolling,
our fingers are figure skaters over the
slick glass, scrolling for versions
of virtual kings and queens, aces and joker.
I miss playing cribbage with my son,
love how at a certain age he began
to move the pegs and add up points,
naturally taking charge like a man.
We forgot to put our chickens in last night.
the sound of the hunter,
neighbor dog or coyote was almost
mechanical, its blood cry.
I miss my resilience sometimes,
the way I have rallied,
once at one in the morning,
my flashlight a captured moon,
guiding me over the lawn
that needed mowing,
the long wet grass coming
over the sides of my slippers.
I will always remember how the chickens
puffed up on their perch
when I came to close and latch the door,
their little nods of thank you.