Friday, April 1, 2011

I Am Not A Poet

Poetry appeals to me for so many reasons—such a disciplined form, the world stripped down to only the essential words—but it's not my form; I'm too verbose, I think.

In observance of National Poetry Month, however, I figured I'd share a poem I wrote a few years ago for a class.

✤ ✤ ✤

For Marian Fisher, 13

Only sunlight illuminated the room,
the dust from the chalkboard sparkling
as it settled on the wood softened
by a hundred sweepings, the thousand footsteps
of the children rising to their lessons.
Five times
one, two, three, four, five
ghosted in the milky gray sweep of erasure.

On the blue sky day they were called
to reciting, they were called
to their reading, they were called to their sums.
Always ready,
Marian said “Me first.”

The milk had been delivered,
his children hugged tight then
released with words of love. Then he
went to work, backed his truck in
for the delivery
of his unimaginable emptiness.

Out of the blue sky day came
the checklist, the wire
the guns, the strange length of wood
and his unimaginable emptiness.

Only sunlight illuminated the room,
the scent of fear quavering
as it settled on the wood softened
by a hundred sweepings, the thousand footsteps
of the children rising to their lessons,
Two lines,
one assembled for dismissal, one assembled in
a row by the chalkboard
with its milky gray sweep of erasure.

Out in the blue sky day the police were called
to awaiting, they were called
to their duty, they were called to their guns.
Inside, ready,
Marian said, “me first.”

Five times
one, two, three, four, five
ghosted in the crimson red sweep of erasure
and his unimaginable emptiness.

✤ ✤ ✤

Here's a little more about Marian Fisher: http://www.marianfisher.com/

8 comments:

Piper said...

wow.nicely & powerfully done.

Elizabeth Hilts said...

Thanks, Piper.

Pat O'Connor said...

This is absolutely beautiful. So understated, like the people it portrays. You are indeed a poet.

Elizabeth Hilts said...

Thank you, Pat.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did I finally find you?

Winn

Elizabeth Hilts said...

Winn,
This is so odd and funny—-I was just looking for you online. You have found me.

Anonymous said...

Odd and funny, or something else? My email is my first and last names @charter.net. Look forward to hearing!

Elizabeth Hilts said...

I sent you an email.