New Poem


My son asks me how to write a poem
I tell him that I do not know how
Sometimes the poem writes me.
I tell him the story about the woman
Who feeds her son oatmeal, he doesn’t want it
But she doesn’t see that—or maybe she does,
Jamming the spoon into his clenched mouth
Until she hears it clang against his
Chipped teeth. He cries, says he’s sorry.
She puts him in Time Out where
he sits facing the wall for hours,
days, years, threatens to throw him
into the middle of next week if he turns around.
He sits there until he faces her as a man. She asks,
“do you remember the color of the oatmeal bowl?”
Now you’re ready to write a poem.

Copyright 2006 January G. O'Neil


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