April prompt #17: WHAT MIGHT I BE INSTEAD

April prompt #17

If you were not a 21st century American, what else or who else might you have been?

David’s #1

I might have been

an erratic stone,

purple and gray,

carried from the shield

in a belly of ice,

resting now

between trees

on a mountain,

the mosses

layering thickly

on my skin.



David’s #5: mention at least one bodily organ




Both hands, all ten fingers.

Both feet. Buttocks

bounce or slide along.

The swing to and away

uncricks the back,

the pull and reach

loosen shoulders.


The highest pipes pip

like the smallest birds,

a twitch in the eardrum;

the lowest below sound,

a rumble in the gut.


Is there anything

they don’t have:

lips for flute,

cheeks for oboe,

the horn’s heart,

syrinx and larynx

and lung.


One thousand pieces.

My mother works section by section:
the white cat’s paws
the green butterfly,
the day her youngest daughter was born.

My brother looks at each piece in turn.
He finds its twin in the picture on the box.
He places it exactly where it belongs.
And his twin sister,
where does
she go?

She is here, now, still and squeezed dry,
close to completion.
She smiles from far away when someone speaks.

My middle sister works the borders:
Make the frame;  the rest will fit in.

My brother-in-law
insists that someone
took the corners.
The pieces
we need are
missing.  Someone
has a piece in
her pocket.

My father comes to the table with coffee.
He is in no section;  no border can hold him.
He can only hold his daughter’s hand.

I sort the pieces into small piles.
Not enough room on this table,
nor room enough here at all
for this hardest of works,
for these infinite pieces of time.




Every spring she lifted
the carpet in the lounge
where the old boys
sat drinking their single-malts.

She turned the good brown soil
and planted seeds: radishes and lettuces,
and as the days grew warmer,
chard and onions, tomatoes and squash.

Still they sat, dozing,
while the warm room filled
with leaf and vine, the scents of ripening.
Every day she came and watered and hoed,

and every day they sat,
reading their papers,
talking of business, the progress
of their cold gray war.

She filled apple baskets in autumn
and left them on the roadsides
for squirrels and children and crows.
The old boys grew thinner,

more querulous.  When they rose
to go to the bathroom or the bar
they were careful not to dirty their shoes.
They would not speak to her.

When winter came
she tacked the carpet back down,
swept up the last dry leaves
and followed the boys to the sea.

There, while they sat
in the sun on their private beach
building castles of golden sand,
she went to work with her tiny trowel.