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.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Afterschool, First of October

As always, comments, critiques welcome!

Afterschool, First of October

Beneath the bells and whistles of the ice cream truck’s last hurrah,
putting a sharp end to our conversation about the pros and cons
of tricks on a two-wheeler, a shot rang out,
crisp and heavy as a Macintosh hitting solid earth beneath the tree.

Just one shot. Nothing more than a rest or a quarter note
in the tinny score of Mr. Frosty’s Greensleeves.
It happens like that, and the world plays on.

Just before the bike ride
just before the crash of tiny metal bike on black driveway
the phone rang. The neighbor warned of backyard passage.
Half-dead raccoon in our yard, she whispered.
Keep the kids in.
Sometimes, when all you want to do is bake cookies,
the October breeze will wrap it’s furred claws
around you and drag you along, outside in the open.

Have you ever noticed how heat draws people together?
Warmth of a kitchen, scorch of a housefire, spark of a gun?
The deer in the woods behind our house
lowered her head, did not stop eating.
A trio of squirrels bowed their heads.
The animal control officer held his rifle low, spent.
While he stood there, waiting,
perhaps, for the raccoon to die,
our kitchen timer went off.
Time’s up.
Time’s up. Up. Up. Up.

Down the street, ice cream wrappers hit the ground.
The officer, tan as the silent deer, stood immobile,
his back to us, praying,
perhaps, for the raccoon’s diseased soul.
All the while my son and I
went in through the back door,
took off our shoes,
scraped ghostly sugar cookies off the cooling pan.

This is how it goes.
Life rolls on.
The animal control officer went home and washed his hands.
We ate our cookies.
We washed our hands.


Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Your poem was on the mark-- better than the animal control officer's shot....

4:20 PM  
Blogger tumblewords said...

Whew! I was along for the journey - up, down, around, hope, despair, routine, up, down. Wonderful!

7:05 PM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

It hit me...in a good way in the end!

5:05 AM  
Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

Every time I stop by here I am suddenly inarticulate and all I can say is: WOW (pause) WOW
You had so many threads of this story going at the same time - that's no small accomplishment. I think the poem brought death into the realm of everyday - a reminder that it really is one of those everyday things we tend to push out of our minds.

11:46 AM  
Blogger polka dot witch said...

this is very rich! i also like all the threads running through and how talking about one thing is talking about the rest.

by way of critique, the only thing that tripped me up on first read was:

"the animal control officer" in the last stanza was a mouthful when everything else was at a different, simpler pace. another way to reference him? marksman? officer? (although you use that one above) suburban hero?

4:26 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Yup. That tripped me up, too. Thanks. I'll think on it.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Hedwyg said...

Wow - wonderful imagery, and a powerful piece. Thank you!

7:58 PM  

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