Holding Pattern

Day Six
On April 6, 2018
Happy first Friday of Na/GloPoWriMo, all. We hope your poetic momentum is building as we head into our first weekend of the month.

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two. You might break to emphasize (or de-emphasize) sounds or rhymes, or to create a moment of hesitation in the middle of a thought.

Holding Pattern

Quiet, by the kitchen window. Beyond, a blackbird sings.
I realize: my hand covers my mouth. Why? I wonder.
Full four fingers, thumb, held tight—
tip of chin to just below the nose.
Slightly curved palm stays firmly in place.
Prolonged pose.

Soothing company? Warm touch?
(Frail scent of strawberry, sliced for desert.)
Comfort? Hideaway on the couch?
Fingertips won’t waver.

A secret word to solve the riddle? There must be.
Blackbird sings beyond the window.

Try this: Hold. It’s about holding.
Hold up—a pear tree leaning against a wall to blossom and bear fruit?
A house in danger of collapsing, people inside?
Or: rob, crack a bank safe code?

Hold down, more likely.
Lips stitched together, silence.
Choose safety?
And hand says: I’m with you?
Strange job for a right hand!

Maybe it meant: hold it!
You’re on to something!
That’s it: just now, a moment ago, a thought occurred,
faint, mirage-like, naked, took off on its journey
hoping to morph into a sensible shape,
wrapped maybe in shiny syllables making potential sense?
Don’t let it slip away.
Exciting trip: from brain to lips.

Hold on! Let your idea-egg hatch into a bird of words!
Fledgling at first: moist feathers, hungry beak, limp wings.
Feed it gnats of self-confidence, worms of expectation,
crunchy caterpillars of encouragement.
Sesame seeds, for secret’s sake. Bowl of water: clarity.
Breathe on its tiny feathers, lovingly.

Hold off, it needs to grow to spread its wings of words.
Meanwhile, take out your mirror, smooth strawberry-red gloss on your lips, luscious, softly.

Hold out. Wear an enigmatic smile, listen. The black bird sings.
Try black bird Karaoke, maybe, for the moment.

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