jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I won't say superstition rules my life. I will say that when I write, I go with the first words, not because they're the best words, but because they came from a higher power, they were a gift, so it's bad karma to get rid of them. On the other hand, if something doesn't sound right, I'm no stranger to delete. I will say I walk around ladders. On the other hand, I owned a black cat and he crossed my path daily.

My kind of superstition is more based on instinct. Fueled by my old childhood intuition that, Yes, the stuffed animals do talk when I leave the room.

More proof. Today I bought koi for my tank, and I was this close to buying the black and white one that looked like he was ready to be iced, just because he was the first one I looked at. It is only because I have lived with my husband, the experienced fish keeper, that I passed my first fish up for the calico koi. Still, as I write, I hope the black and white koi will forgive me for not giving him a home. Am I superstitious? I don't know. At least my new fish are still swimming. Here's a poem on the matter of grocery shopping and superstition.


She takes only the Empire apples her long fingers land on first,
bruises, pock marks, indentations be damned.
The broccoli she brushes first is the bunch
that gets bagged and brought home.

The spiders’ web wound round more than half
the last weeping red pint of strawberries?
The first one she laid eyes on,
the plastic container she couldn’t leave hanging
for fear its feelings would be hurt.

She feels like a grade school bully
blushes, even, as she stands, hand hovering
over the bin of Brussels sprouts.

Choosing the freshest, the biggest, the best is not how she shops.
She buys her groceries with her old pal superstition
riding shotgun in the wobbly wheel cart,
the cart she absentmindedly pulled from the silver train
outside the store, the cart she should have put back
were it not for the nagging feeling that something bad
might happen if she took a different one, a better one,
the one not intended for her in the grand scheme of things.

In the grand scheme of things if you follow your instincts
do what comes naturally, do what comes first
it will all come out all right, all will be right with the world.
The apple pie will be mealy.
The broccoli will taste of mold.
A mountain of whipped cream will avalanche
sending the furry strawberries
crawling down your throat,
chasing the rogue band of deflated Brussels sprouts.

As she leaves the grocery store,
the left wheel of her lame cart will freeze up
in front of an oncoming car.
Of course this isn’t how it ends.
She shopped for the grand scheme.
She will arrive home safely,
cart her ripping paper sacks up the steps,
make dinner for her hungry family.
Everyone will go to bed happy,
bellies wrapped snuggly in rabbit’s foot blankets.

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Blogger Autrice DelDrago said...

We kept Koi for a while. In Japan, one should always keep one black fish in the tank or pond - if death visits the household, it will strike the black fish first.

Poor fish!

3:45 AM  
Blogger Colorful Prose said...

I really enjoyed reading your piece, especially superstition riding shotgun in the three-wheeled shopping cart.

4:46 AM  
Blogger twitches said...

I like how you end with what "will" happen - giving it another layer of superstitiousness (is that a word??)

8:47 AM  
Blogger Patty said...

"Sending the furry strawberries crawling down your throat." Brilliant.

9:37 AM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Thank you everyone, for your comments! Now I am convinced I need to go back and buy the black fish. And, I must give credit where it is due..."strawberries crawling down your throat" is an idea I borrowed from one of my first poetry students (now a freshman in college!) who, when brainstorming food similies, said eating coconut was like spiders crawling down your throat. So true!

9:50 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

It's a very cute poem - "...superstition riding shotgun in the shopping cart."

1:22 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

nicely done.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

Wonderful poem, on so many levels!

I too love "my old pal superstition riding shotgun", and the image conjured up by the last line..

Everyone will go to bed happy,
bellies wrapped snuggly in rabbit’s foot blankets.

Well done!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is terrific. it rings so true with the instinct we all have to "line hop" at the check out. inevitably, if i give up my line for a "better" one, there's some sort of price check or issue with the person's payment method. this was a lot of fun!

1:16 PM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

beautiful poem!

1:18 PM  

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