31 Moments in Time


Here, sitting at the computer

in the kitchen table. I grew up in a house

just like this. Actually, it was this house.

My socks are made of cat hair.

My hair is made of socks.

My mother knits bones out of skeins

of sheep’s wool and rabbit fur. Her needles

click-clack to the rhythm of my broken ankle.

Outside, the sheep shiver, unable to wonder.


Because of the clouds in his eyes,

the dog thinks I’m my sister

until I speak. His bark wobbles the canning jar

full of daffodils that rest in the oven.

Nothing shatters, but there’s always the possibility.

The red ring on the stove isn’t an eye either;

just a warning that things are about to change form.

On the phone, my father and uncle talk about the weather.

Snow, hail, sleet, my grandfather’s latest downfall.

In the distance, a hammer. My brother pounds taps,

catches the sap in rubber tubing that fences the maples

so they don’t run from his stinging tool.


And me? Here. Listen. Just the click-clack of keys,

the bark of confusion, the yammer of the weather,

the hammer of words off their mark. Stop.


This is only one moment, unfolding a million times over,

like the smallest note passed from one hand to another,

tucked into a pocket into a vase into a heart into a cat claw

and played with until it no longer holds a single line of life.


Note: I used the title of one of the sites as the title to the poem. Also note: this 30-in-30 is a totally different experience for me this year than last year. Last year, I was at a writer’s retreat, doing nothing but writing and running. This year, I’m traveling and spending time with my family, which means that poetry is about the last thing on my mind. It has, however, made me think about how the life I’m living affects the time and energy that I can put into writing.

Read today’s prompt (as well as the inspiration beyond poem-a-day) over at Not Without Poetry. My goal is to write a poem each day in less than 20 minutes, and without additional revision beyond the writing experience