National Poetry Month

Inspired by Black History month, The Academy of American Poets  worked with a variety of interested parties including teachers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and of course poets to figure out the many ways poetry could be celebrated.  They concluded April was a great month for the celebration, and on April 1, 1996, President Bill Clinton proclaimed April to be National Poetry Month. 

 

Following the Academy’s lead, Writers’ Morning Out has posted a poem-a-day during April since WMO’s inception in 2010.

“Fetch” by E.V. Noechel

 

The sour stinging smell of a new tennis ball.
Acrid and headachy. Delicate with newborn fuzz.
I toss, you retrieve, dog of my dad dead
three days now. I trimmed your mats and fed you
Campbells soup for lack of dogfood. You sniffed
his body, nudged him, maybe howled. When
no one came 12 hours later, did you sleep
beside him, or go to bed like I should, to pretend
it is a night like every other. Pretending life
continues. Breathe in, out. Waiting
for the stark, merciless sun.

 

Did his head sound like a dropped pyrex
bowl, heavy, resonating in circles,
a strange echoing thunk? Did the blood
move quick, then slow, clotting where it lands,
or did it drip from the wound
like black molasses? All I get,
as an answer, is a sticky wet
ball, green fuzz matted with bubbly drool
and an expectant look in your dark shooter
marble eyes that beg me to throw again.
Keep up the back-and-forth pattern, the art
of muscle memory. Highly practiced rhythm.

 

I wish you could tell me. I wish I could lift
the memory from between your ears, soft as
the skin inside my cheek I feel with my tongue
when nothing else will console me. Give me
your memory and I’ll hold
the pictures at arm’s length, afraid
and fascinated all at the same time, like
having a black, shining scorpion
held captive in a jar. Polished hypodermic
death. Such a little thing.

 

 

4 Responses

  1. Heartbreaking, and so beautiful. I often wonder what secrets animals hold within them and wish I could know…you captured this so beautifully.

  2. E. V. Noechel’s poem speaks straight to my heart. Strong images, poignant questions, emotions expressed without sentimentality. Powerfull!! So powerfull …

  3. Beautiful and heartbreaking piece that manages to both address the terror death and also capture the simplicity and ease of being with a dog.

  4. Oh how full of thoughts I’ve thought, of feelings I’ve felt. Poets have such talent, speaking to us all, pulling our heartstrings…

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