Sunday, April 11, 2010

NaPoWriMo #3: re-write

It's probably a bit early in the game to be pulling out the re-write card, but we've been at a family reunion at Zion National Park for the past week (that's a whole other post) and so I've got some catching up to do.

I originally wrote this poem back in Febrary 2009 and since then it's been through five drafts. For the past couple months I've been workshopping it in my poetry group, and am pleased with the direction it's taking—though I'm not completely satisfied with it yet. Here's the latest incarnation (from this afternoon).

My Valentine

You learned to cut making valentines
clipped carefully along pencil-traced lines
frustrated by each failed attempt
finally threw down pink plastic-handled scissors
cheeks flushed under freckles and hot tears

In that moment I stood still
stopped, saw myself reflected in
the fierce furrow between your brows
the stubborn set of your shoulder blades
the way you clenched your blunt scissors

I wished I could have taught you
before you learned to care too much
but I think you always have

So I breathed in, breathed out
smoothed your hair, stroked your back
took my own shears in hand
showed you how to make small, slow cuts
tried not to make my own too fast or straight

Cautious, you snipped, then cut
then shredded with assurance
through a sheaf of construction paper
I wondered at your persistence
praised every jagged heart of red, green, and blue

I wished I could have taught you
before I learned to care too much
but I know I always have.

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