Sestina for a three-year-old
February 07, 2013
You can turn anything into a car.
Drive your bread across the bright
expanse of table, look to see
whether I'm watching, if I'll say no.
Tell me you can do it, you are big
enough, you know you are three.
On tough days I count to three
then lift you bodily into the car.
Cue wailing. "No, mommy, I'm too big,
don't do that to me!" The sun's too bright,
the music's wrong, a world of no.
Two minutes later you're chatting: "see
the fields sleeping, mommy? I see
some horses, one-two-three!"
You emerge from your funk as though no
upset ever happened, pick up a car
and zoom the length of your lap. The bright
side: you never hold a grudge, big
arms outspread, your heart as big
as the moon you greet each time you see
her in the heavens shining bright.
"Hello moon! Look, I see three
stars!" and we pause outside the car
beneath the darkening sky. There's no
rulebook on snow days, no
limits to what we can watch on the big
tv, Pocoyo in his musical red car
trundling across the white expanse to see
what he can see. Now we are three:
new family constellation bright
in the sky's expanse, bright
as your laugh when I tickle you. "No,
do it again, again! Count to three
with your hand up here." The next big
leap just over the horizon, where we can't see.
Long legs kick the passenger seat in my car.
Bright stripes and new songs: you are big
enough to say "no, I can do it, see?"
Utterly three! Come on, get in the car.
I wanted to write a poem for this week's imperfect prose prompt -- "belief" -- but I couldn't get it to work. So I tried a sestina, because sometimes the strictures of the sestina form jar my creativity into working in new ways. That was better, but still not great. I think I chose the wrong end-words; no matter what I tried, the sestina still felt sentimental and trite. So then I tried writing an entirely different sestina, on an entirely different subject, and that one, I liked. So that's the one I'm sharing today, even though it has nothing to do with the prompt that originally got me writing.
(Speaking of writing and prompts: if you're following any literary blogs which offer regular prompts, will you link me to them? I miss Big Tent Poetry and Read Write Poem.) Anyway: hope you enjoyed the poem. All feedback welcome.