What's changed; what's stayed the same
Looking forward to selichot

Another mother psalm: #7


A psalm of anticipation

Someday you'll know us by our cars:
you'll report that mama's
is sky-blue, that dad's is black

(and a pick-up truck --
a distinction boys learn so early
it must be imparted in the womb.)

Maybe you'll want to look inside,
to decode the tanks and hoses,
this one the size of a pineapple

and that one filled with antifreeze,
relishing the dark smudge of oil
that moistens your hands. Or maybe

you'll gravitate toward the yard:
petting pussywillows' spring silk,
blowing dandelions to smithereens,

checking the pots on the deck
as you wait for herb seeds to sprout.
Whatever speeds your heart

don't be afraid to go deep:
step on stones in summer streams
in search of swimming holes

or dive into sci-fi paperbacks'
lurid covers and dry newsprint pages,
calling distant galaxies home.

When you come up for air, marvel
at where you've been, where
you still have yet to go.

This week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry is a wordle word cloud containing words from a well-regarded poet's published poem. The poem in question is revealed in today's "Come One, Come All" post -- it's "Last August Hours Before the Year 2000," by Naomi Shihab Nye.

The wordle words were cars, asked, blown, hose, deep, dry, moisten, plant, stream, pots, pineapple, summer, zeroes, silk. I managed to use all of them in the poem again, which feels like a victory! I love writing from wordle prompts because they so often give me words I would never have chosen on my own.

This is another in my series of mother psalms, a subset of the mother poems. I initially wrote it as one long stanza -- the earliest mother psalms were all single blocks of verse -- but after a few revisions I realized that the lines were naturally coming in triplets, so I tried breaking the poem up that way and I like the visual prosody of how it moves down the page / screen.