Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #468: Note

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Taking Dictation

She had spent her middle school years passing notes
on wide-ruled paper with the fringe that came
from being ripped out of a Lisa Frank notebook,
her girlish cursive in shades of pink
that she liked to call her invisible ink–
strategically chosen to impair
Mrs. Sikeston with her 20/100 vision.

There were the notes she took in high school
on unlined, “open-ended” printer paper–
filled from corner to corner
with concrete poetry and spirograph designs
that she wheat-pasted to the walls of her room.

There were the notes she left for her mom on the kitchen counter
where she would see them,
letting her know where she was and with whom.

There were the notes she wrote in everyone’s yearbook
that year of 1999 at William J. Woodham High School,
telling them that if they ever came across the name
of Lauranne Huntington,
they would know that she had made it as an author,
for she believed that Lauranne–
not Laura–
was destined for literary greatness.

There were the notes she took in college–
of biology and anthropology,
and every other -ology–
her streams of consciousness sometimes
drowning out the drone of the professors
who taught in the physical and biological sciences department.

There were the notes she took when she
interviewed faculty and students
and covered events for the college newspaper,
with bold circles wherever there was a
Who, What, Where, When, Why, How,
for every question had to start with one of these.

There were the Post-It notes she left all over the house
when she was practicing her Spanish,
the magnetized letters on the refrigerator that spelled “Want Sex”
(which was more of a warning than anything).

The pink had deepened into red by then,
even as she had deepened into whom was meant to become;
just as her haikus–
once so abstract and emo–
had deepened into the personal narratives
that were as concrete and real as she was.

There were the rejection slips
that she tacked over the old poetry
in her childhood room
where the walls and furniture were as white
as the curtains and bedspread were pink–
this place where she would still come to write
while her mom and dad watched her girls.
The notes she took at the monthly board meetings
helped her learn to listen while writing–
to listen more and better.

The notes she took to remind herself how to do something
helped the next person not have to learn the hard way,
for every position she left,
she left behind an account of everything that she had learned
and everything that she knew they would need to know.

The notes her daughters brought home from school
let her know the things she should notice
but didn’t always have the time to;
and then there were the notes she took,
reminding herself to take the time to notice.

There were the notes she wrote in the Christmas cards
she made out of scrapbooking scraps and brown paper bags.
The messages in the numerous thank you notes she wrote–
both on the job and off–
they were all her handwriting and her handiwork.

She never became Lauranne Huntington,
but rather the Laura Hunt
that people felt they knew–
the Laura Hunt they wanted to know.

But the notes that truly captured the essence of who Laura Sawyer (nee Hunt)
were not these,
but were the music notes that the man she loved placed together
in memory of her.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-468

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#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

mormoni

Mother would not give him marriage,
but she would give him sex & love.
She would not give him children,
but she would give him hers.

His thoughts were my thoughts,
his ways, my ways,
& I believed this was so—
only because he’d come first.

She was wrapped up in the Church—
just like a gift someone did not want
its intended to see.

My father, Patrick, was alive.
With one sentence,
Mother had resurrected the dead.

Mother was his full-length dark mink,
I, his white mink stole;
Caitlin was a leotard with ballerina slippers,
the only innocent one of us all.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #461: Picking Up

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Picking Up Toys

Raggedy Anne is looking rather ragged.
You’ve made a hat out of stickers for her;
you’ve pulled her yarn hair apart
so it looks like she has a bad perm.
She is not yet missing an eye
(only because it’s made of thread),
but if you needled her to death
like Mama used to do to her “friends,”
she’d be real sorry.
You’ve turned Baby Aimee into a double amputee.
I thought only woodland creatures
chewed off their own foot
when it was caught in a trap.
Mickey’s hands look like they were caught
in a stump grinder;
poor Frederick the Poet Mouse
looks like he’s been on a starvation diet.
And Quackers?
Well, he’s hanging on (or together)
by a thread,
for mastication is your instantaneous gratification.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-461

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #30. Theme: One More (Blank)

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One More Memory

If I had just one more memory–
one more moment stretched into years
(with light years between the seconds)–
I would have so much to show-and-tell you.
Does that not sound like a little child?

Your presence
hovers
in the absence
of space and time
as you observe Hannah’s progression,
listen to my stories,
and see this, your daughter,
in the collegiate green cap and gown,
having remade herself into the ungraven image
she’s always wanted to be.

We share memories of you at the table;
I like to imagine you hear us
every time we speak your name.
We have no complaints.

Dad still carries your driver’s license in his wallet;
there are never enough pictures.
We say, “That’s a Mom joke!”
(when the joke is truly terrible)
or “Remember when Mom ..?”

Dad still calls you Mom;
I call you Grandma.
“Say ‘Good-night, Grandma,’”
I tell my daughter,
“blow her a kiss to heaven.”
It’s a kiss strong enough
to shatter
plaster
ceilings,
to defy
gravity.
I catch the one you send back
and plant it on her cheek.

We call you what our children call you.
You wanted Dad to call you Betty more.
Your mother always called you Betty Ann.
You liked the names Carolyn and Elise.
You dug up the roots of the family tree
to give me mine.

She is…she was…
it is just “Grandpa’s house” now,
but the contact still reads “Mom and Dad’s”
in my phone.
I will never change it.

We remember your goulash–
the only thing you knew how to make–
even though we weren’t even Hungarian.
Still aren’t.

We just are.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-30

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #10. Theme: Teenage

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The Persistence of Her Memory

When she lost her memories of adulthood,
she was seventeen again,
but in a body that had seen several oil changes.
She grieved for the second time for the grandparents she had lost,
except all at once;
she grieved for the friends who had grown up or grown apart,
not understanding why they couldn’t pick up where they had left off.
She read her own journal and recognized not the person in it,
for she was a stranger,
even to herself.
Every day she lived,
she would gain one day of memory back—
live a day, gain a day—
so that the old was as real to her as the new.
She spread old memories like a receiving blanket around all who’d known her
that year of nineteen-hundred-and-ninety-nine,
wrapping everyone up in what they thought they’d forgotten—
some queer little thing that would make them smile in remembrance,
illuminating a generation of people through shared nostalgia—
of Friday nights at Blockbuster and posing for Glamour Shots in the mall
when half the girls wanted to look like Claudia Schiffer,
of making fun of after-school special reruns and Harlequin romances,
of quiet libraries and talking on the telephone,
of politics not infiltrating every conversation,
of the era of Jesus freaks who wore the WWJD bracelets
and carried their Bibles on top of their textbooks,
of working at Baskin Robbins on Saturday mornings
and not finishing the ice cream cakes fast enough,
of high school graduation with Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”
and “Time of Your Life” by Green Day,
of her dreams of having a Little Lucy and a Little Ricky
with a man who looked like Prince William,
and a million other little things that had marked her teenage years,
had marked her.
Her husband waited for that day—
seven years into the future—
when she would remember the day she had fallen in love with him,
but time created new memories,
and she fell for him all over again,
for she could neither wait for time nor pass it,
but rather,
surpass it.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-10

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #7. Theme: Occupation

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A Life of Games

When she played “Old Maid,”
she realized that no one wanted to be one,
yet never questioned why
there was never an “Old Bachelor” game.

When she played “Perfection,”
she realized that speed and accuracy
was the winning combination to more than games.

When she played “Operation,”
she knew the world would be better off
if she wasn’t a surgeon.

When she played “Checkers,”
she realized that once she mastered something,
she lost interest in it.

When she played “Clue,”
she realized how much she loved
figuring things out.

When she played “Scrabble,”
she realized that dictionaries were friends
to the right people.

But when she played video games,
she realized how much she hated them.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-7

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Mother was a diamond—hopelessly & beautifully flawed.

Through Foster’s Diner, I’d had the extended family I’d longed for, but I hadn’t known until it was too late to know them as such.

There had been numerous incarnations of Beth & Gerald Foster, but their final incarnation had been of themselves—the adopted grandparents I had loved for themselves.

That was why they had seemed so familiar, for I had, in a way, grown up with them, even as they had watched me grow up.

I never asked why they had never voiced a desire to see Caitlin. Maybe it was just that I was so much like their beloved, adopted son.

I wish I would have been able to encapsulate those precious moments I had spent at the roadside diner, never knowing how precious they really were.

I’d never seen Mother struggle with anything before, but she struggled to fit the mold of the Mormon wife, pouring herself into it, but never quite jelling, for the molds were all the same.

Our living room resembled a room in one of the Mormon temples—white & delightsome—a microcosm of the celestial kingdom.

With the light reflecting off her glossy hair & radiant complexion, she looked like an angel. Yet, it was no marvel, for even Satan himself had been transformed into an angel of light.

I was 18 & the thought of moving into Maxwell Manor with Mother & David made me feel about 12 years old.