I am participating in National Poetry Writing Month, where the goal is to write one poem a day for 30 days. During the month of April, I will be using the writing prompts at ReadWritePoem.org and posting the results.
Day seventeen prompt (missing something)
Think about a time when you missed someone. Were you separated by distance? Was it for a long time or only briefly? How did it feel? Can you write metaphors for the longing? for the emptiness? Can you write about the departure? the goodbye? the moment in which you almost didnt let that person go? What was it like to come back together? Did distance make the heart grow fonder, as they say, or were you just plain miserable while this person was away?
Of course, its not always possible to see someone again. Sometimes the missing someone lasts forever, as when a relationship has ended or when we are separated from someone by death. How can you describe this grief? What is that sensation of missing something you cant get back?
Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright
Our past is an overplayed VHS tape:
white-line threads, your hair blooming
far too red. In college, we made movie
magic, a dizzy montage of eraser fights,
stalking suits and mewing in trees
at the unsuspecting. Laughing, we fools,
always. Tapping at soundproof glass
to make friends gasp on-air. You starred
in my class projects, helped plan
happenings: mock protests, mass
silliness. Even years later, your neat
letters, vivid scenes of us,
dancing like children. You in fuchsia,
a bridesmaid with wild curls
at my first wedding. But then, you
deleted yourself. My letters
returned, calls unanswered. I'd missed
some subtext a shadowy figure, or
subtle signal viewed by other
audiences. Was it your growing
sports yen, a need for wheels?
The BMXer you dated who
hated my brown boyfriend? Did I
love you too much? Oh,
sister, how I miss you. In dreams,
our arms intertwine and we float
special effects. In dreams,
you explain how softly
silence grew: an accident, you say,
the rest warbly, lost. I've cobbled
together our director's
cut: with a soundtrack
on reel-to-reel, using a china pencil
and razor blade. Blue tape
fastens the angled cuts. But our
future is a bad
edit, an abrupt
shift to leader.
This poem has been a long time coming. I was a broadcast-cable major in college, and one of my best friends, an English major, worked at the college radio station with me. Now, we live in the same city but haven't spoken for years, as this poem explains. I did some free writing and then sat down at the computer, listening to iTunes, and wrote this.
For some losses, we never get answers.