This poem won Editor's Mom's Choice in the 2014 2-Day Poem Contest
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like
as to put to rout all that was not life–
—Henry David Thoreau
for a grandson, unborn
A house in a ‘shoebox’: pitched roof, gable ends,
breeze through a tiny window teasing the snowy
Priscillas. Unseated buses, tool sheds: versions
of a child’s first drawing. It’s learning the tricks,
owners say. Tables that fold, unfold into beds;
a spice rack slid out with a switch. A single place
for books, clothespins, rubber boots. Precious
sleight of hand.
My first house was a Hudson Bay blanket draped
over living room chairs. Crouched in a cramp
of yellow red green, my flashlight unlocked shadows:
lamplight into moon. Yip and howl of the neighbour’s
dog: a putative wolf. My brothers’ flailing limbs
in tag-team tussle shot out lightning, eerie timbres
in the deep-woods night.
Breathe the air, drink the drink, Thoreau says.
You have taught me. We were told, probably,
you would not survive; your liquid barge too small,
come loose from its moorings. But I have seen you –
booster view from the ultra-sound wand – arms
and legs unfolding, folding in. As if you imagined
this; spied beyond prediction a bucket, a length
Published online June 30 2014.
This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.