NaPoWriMo 9

This is a collaborative poem I wrote with J.D. Scrimgeour on the flight home from Denver. Can't remember the last time I collaborated on a poem. It was a great way to kill time on the more than 4-hour flight to Boston. No title yet.

Not the heat, not the humidity,
Not the drops of water beading
down the window in the late June afternoon

not the dog panting in the shade,
or the dream of the beach house,
or the barefoot girl on the porch steps

as she unleashes her ponytail,
flings her hair side to side
as it falls and drapes over her shoulders—

none of this is you. Not even the girl.
Did you have a ponytail? Did you
sit on porch steps sweating and

hoping for something more than this:
your life, tucked in your pockets
like old receipts, something you’ve signed away

and—dammit!—want back? Did a dog
shake a fly from its ear and look at you
with something you’d swear was pity?

You look through the window, which reveals
nothing but your own face staring back at you,
the eyes of someone hollowed out by years

of not looking through that window,
years spent looking away from the dog,
and your hands start a slow dance

into clarity, how they sail and glide
out of this world and into the next
with the lightness of being

until they are no longer your hands,
they belong to the girl, and they
are nearly still. They hold the head

of the dog between her small fingers
petting its head in comfort, in sorrow
for something lost that can never be found.


drew said…
Love it. I'd love to hear more about the process. How did you work together on this poem?
January said…
Hi Drew. J.D. and I literally passed a laptop between us for at least an hour, maybe longer. We had no real plan, but the lines became three-line stanzas early on. There are some parts that don't work, but it was a great exercise to work on together.

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