"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 28 ~ Varied Definitions of "It"

“Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street.” 
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Early morning intuition opened the front door
at the sound of a barking dog to discover
an uneasy feeling justified.

Crime stepped from the shadows
propped on an uncle’s shoulders
forcing each one of my family to face it.

No one could decide on what “it” was.

Mama said, “It was that damn boy
crawling across the night to bring
his evil to our doorstep.”

Dad said, “It breaks my heart.
He is my brother, but I must turn him in.”

My little sister said, “It was so scary to see
that white t-shirt come out of the dark.”

I kept my thoughts to myself.  The “it”
tormenting me had risen from my nightmares
and was eating toast and drinking milk.

We all thought those tail lights disappearing
over the hill would be our freedom from the
thing we couldn’t agree on, but our lives
weren’t free of the unexpected lurking in the night.

Two evenings later on a quiet, waiting street
peace was undone by shuffling feet, badges
and guns demanding we surrender a man already gone.

Rattled, angry and fearful each one of us was trying
again to define the thing that unsettled us, but
the only thing we could agree on was the hope
the “it” an uncle brought to us would never return.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Kerry has us celebrating Harper Lee's birthday by taking a quote from her novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" and using it as inspiration for our written work. A Birthday In April ~ Harper Lee

I actually got to meet Mary Badham who played Scout in the movie version of Harper Lee's book, "To Kill a Mockingbird."


Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, Susie, this is real scary, and scary-real. The hairs on my arms were ready to stand up if anyone so much as knocked on my door while I was reading.
I love the photo of you and Mary Badham. I can see Scout's girl face in her adult one.

Outlawyer said...

First, Susie, so very cool to have met Scout. Second, such a cool poem, wonderfully subtle but vivid too and particular and menacing. Very well done. This is Karin Gustafson, Manicddaily on Wordpress, but blogger sometimes makes me use this old account. K.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Susie, this is my last read of the night, so of COURSE it would be the scary one, ha ha.

The "it" scares the crap out of me. Yet you told this story well, reminding me that every family has a version of that uncle... mine included. Amy
PS A post with all three prompts I missed while at the conference:

Kerry O'Connor said...

What makes this narrative chilling is that it is never named - the reader must imagine what could have happened. The sense of unease and fear is palpable. Excellent writing.

Jinksy said...

Has all the frisson of 'things that go bump in the night'...

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Frighteningly good!

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