This poem came out of the August 16, 2011 perk fishbowl. It was prompted by minor_architect, jenny_evergreen, and meeksp. It's posted as the second freebie, courtesy of new donor kitrona. This is a Veterans Day poem, by the way, and the flowers mentioned are all symbolic of remembrance. It falls fairly near the beginning of the Monster House series.
The rocking chair in the living room
sat empty and still.
Yellow ribbons fluttered in the November wind,
tied around the the oak trees
bracketing the walkway to our house.
The little old lady ghost
stood on the front porch,
barely visible in the tawny light.
With her stood another ghost, a tall young man
with the same heart-shaped face as hers,
his severed right arm tucked under his left,
uniform so splattered with blood and mud
that it could scarcely be identified.
"Who is that?"
my girl whispered.
"Her son," I explained.
"She always invites him to stay with her,
and he always declines."
As I watched, the young man shook his head
and strode toward the street.
His mother's shoulders slumped
as she sat down on the steps.
"We should go, if we're going,"
said my girl. "The cemetery closes at sunset."
So we went, the two of us,
and the little old lady ghost riding along silently.
The cemetery wasn't so busy this late in the day.
My girl laid the first bouquet on her grandfather's grave,
and I laid the second on my cousin's.
Then we walked to the far corner
where stood the dimpled slab of white marble,
name and dates long since worn away,
that had become our local "tomb of the unknown soldier."
The grass around it already shimmered with frost
and approaching it felt like leaning into a winter wind,
air oppressive as a crowd.
"Excuse us," I said. "Coming through, please."
The air shifted, lightening faintly
as the unseen, unfamiliar ghosts stepped aside.
I laid the final bouquet at the foot of the smooth headstone:
red poppies, white roses, and blue forget-me-nots.
"We'll wait for you in the car,"
I said to the little old lady ghost.
So we sat in the car, my girl and I,
watching the last red light seep toward the horizon,
shadows lengthening toward us.
I held her hand in mine,
so warm and alive,
so very precious.
Almost all of the poems combined multiple prompts. That helped me get through most of the prompters, although I didn't manage to write something for everyone. I had a choice of closing the prompts early, skipping some of them, or letting the fishbowl run full length. Ultimately I decided to skip some, that being the option explicitly listed in the parameters (i.e. only donors are guaranteed a poem based on their prompting). The extra fishbowl is a new thing, and it doesn't handle quite the same as the regular version, so it may take me a while get the hang of this. A total of 18 people sent prompts, all previous participants.
I have added all the new poems to the Monster House entry. Those published online are linked; the others are just listed. There are now 20 poems in this series, wow! The new ones included several near the beginning and others toward the end of the established timeline, as best I can tell. It was kind of interesting to look at them after they were written and figure out, "Okay, this has to happen after X but before Z." Also, the tone varied more than usual. There has been some variation from the beginning, but this series has leaned strongly towards humor. This time the tones included creepy and mournful as well.
Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the August 2011 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"Home Is the Hunter"
"Thunder Without Rain"
"Weed by Weed"
Buy Some Poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, the two unsold poems from this fishbowl are:
"Guidance Counseling" -- 166 lines, $83
From the prompt about school, and a similar one from fayanora, I got the free-verse poem "Guidance Counseling." A school counselor visits Monster House to discuss how a blind child manages to get around so well.
"The Picket Fence Committee" -- 73 lines, $36.50
From the prompt about the house as a monster, plus one from eseme, I got the free-verse poem "The Picket Fence Committee." Not every house is meant to look like the American dream, and unwanted visitors sometimes get a rough welcome ...
Also, "Restoration" is currently in microfunding, posted one verse at a time as they are funded. You can buy more at $.50 per line.
All currently sponsored poems have been posted. Backchannel copies have been sent to the respective prompters. There is no general poll at this time.
Donors for this fishbowl include: the_vulture, jenny_evergreen, zianuray, laffingkat, and kitrona. Special thanks to jenny_evergreen for extra promotion in her one-card draw and attendant cycling of crowdfunding donations from one project to another. Welcome to new donor kitrona, whose participation activated the second freebie poem. Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm!
The Poetry Fishbowl project has a permanent landing page. See also the Serial Poetry page on my website for a guide to the series.