I don’t much care for painting by numbers
but we made poems up
on our hands, my mom and I, counting syllables
on our fingers in the bath, the rumple
of her skin grown red, me in front or back,
being little, trying to find lines
that would ta-da right.
Water gleamed off of her
in beams as she ran the washcloth
over shoulders, upper arms, breasts two dangling
streams, lips dry to the last face wash,
murmuring trial rhymes.
The poems were simple and, like paintings
by number, stayed within
the lines; still, absorption
fogged the room, wrapping us
in its bared wings, keeping my mother too, my busy busy
mother, so close and gently captive.
What a miracle it was–words
broken into a count that added up
to verse–a universe–and me an initiate
into some secret society
that had learned how to make it
Here’s a poem, really an homage to my mother who introduced me to the idea of meter in poetry. She did not write poetry much herself, and her version was pretty much syllabic, but she did give me a very early introduction to the whole notion of the thing. Usually it was done in a shared bath, when I was really very small. I am incredibly grateful. I wrote this for for the dVerse Poets Pub Poeticsprompt on numbers in honor of their second anniversary (hosted by the lovely Laurie Kolp.)
(I’ve actually been very concerned about numbers today as I also corrected a sonnet that only had thirteen lines. The fourteen line version can be found here, and if one is interested in process, has a link to original.
I have also edited this poem since first posting.Explore posts in the same categories: poetry, Uncategorized comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.