Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Family Ways"

This is the linkback perk poem from the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It came out of the October 18, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl with prompts from fayanora and moonwolf1988, along with further ideas from various "House Rules" lists.  All verses are now posted.  You can reveal further verses by linking to the unsold poetry list or a specific poem you like.  This poem belongs to the Monster House series; you can find out more about that on the Serial Poetry page.




Family Ways


I scooped the Saturday newspaper
off the kitchen floor where it had fallen,
folded it neatly, and set it on the table.

     If you drop it ... pick it up.

My daughter made her way to the sink
and began to do the dishes, her deft hands
carefully sorting out the plates and glasses,
leaving the knives for me to do later.

     If you eat out of it ... wash it.

The bogeyman
finished off
the last of the orange juice,
rinsed out the pitcher,
then pulled a fresh can
out of the freezer to make more.

     If you empty it ... fill it up.

The monster-under-the-bed
took the clean linens,
still warm from the dryer,
and went about the house
making all the beds, his six arms
making short work of the sheets.

     If you sleep on it ... make it up.

The monster-in-the-closet
put away the fresh towels,
laid down the clean mats, and
hung up the bathrobes in the bathroom.

     If you wear it ... hang it up.

The lurking shadow
checked to make sure
all the unused appliances were off,
put new batteries in the smoke alarm,
changed a burned-out lightbulb
and tested the replacement
by flicking the switch up and down.

     If you turn it on ... turn it off.

The telephone rang,
and my wife picked it up.
As I passed her with another load
of laundry for the monsters
under-the-bed and in-the-closet,
I heard her assure her mother
that we'd be there for Sunday dinner.

     If it rings ... answer it.

The radiator dragon presented me 
with the back half of a rat,
then whined hopefully at me
and blinked his big gas-blue eyes.
I fed him the leftover bacon from breakfast
and scratched under his chin with the metal tongs,
then disposed of the rodent.

     If it whines ... feed it.

The baby began to whimper,
but by the time I got there,
he had already stopped.
The little old lady ghost
smiled at me as she rocked
the carved wooden cradle.

     If it cries ... love it.


Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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