catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 13, Num 5 :: 2014.03.07 — 2014.03.20


My notebook full of dishcloths

Knit a sweater, crochet an afghan, can a jar of spaghetti sauce, or turn strawberries into jam and my aunts and cousins and grandmother would have oohed and aahed until the cows came home.  You can wear a sweater, snuggle under an afghan, eat that spaghetti sauce or smear jam on bread and everyone will feel better.

But write a poem, and you could get a pat on your head and feel the looks passing over your head, sympathetic looks that convey something like, “I’m sure she’ll get over it,” or, “She’ll learn how to do useful things yet.”

So I didn’t write my first real poem until I could see fifty in my rear view mirror.  I was on a flight back from my first time at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, and words streamed from my pen onto the lines in my spiral bound notebook.  My seatmate on the first flight home wanted to see what I was writing, and she pronounced me a poet.  At home, I ended up in a writers’ group and more poems filled up notebooks, and after I read them in group, and sometimes to my family, they were laid away, like old clothes in a trunk to gather moths.  That’s just the way it was. 

Oh, a small book of poetry was published, and I sorted poems into affinity groups, but tucked them away, wondering why I wasted all that time, but I couldn’t help myself.  They just leaked out. 

Then it came to me, as a friend crocheted a stack of dishcloths to give away, and an epiphany turned my poems into dishcloths.  Those dishcloths will never earn my friend much money.  They will never make her famous, but they will bring her great satisfaction.  They will while away an afternoon, the needlework easing her soul as my pen lining words against the white paper eases my soul.

And I don’t mind the funny looks that might pass over my head or behind my back.  I know you can’t eat or wear a poem, but you can feel it, and sometimes, at the right time, a poem might nourish you better than a piece of apple pie.

A Poem I Ate at my Childie’s House

Rain drips sparkly
off green velvet leaves.
Grey clouds thick
like wads of dirty cotton
float overhead.

The fruit releases
easily into my hand
and I heft it once, twice
savoring its promise before
I pull another free.

I slide into the red flesh
juice spilling pink wetness
across the table
and I slip a chunk into my mouth
tasting a later summer poem

of golden sunshine,
of warm breezes
and silvery moonlight,
rich brown earth
and crystal clear raindrops.

A poem with juice
running down my chin.

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