That Poetry Prompt is Dumb

Stephanie Remembered

I don’t have time for this. This prompt is stupid, besides no way am I going there. I have way too much to do. The business of writing becoming once again my excuse not to write. For today’s prompt, write a ten poem. The poem could have ten lines, ten syllables, and/or have ten syllables per line. Maybe it’s about the number ten. Or name ten things that you love, hate, or collect. There are probably more than ten ways to come at this prompt. Maybe you’ll find ten poems in the process. @robertleebrewer

No one wants to read a sad poem and my heart knows, I don’t want to write one. Thinking about what it was like ten years ago is wading into uncertain waters where I might lose my footing. Besides, that poetry prompt is two days old. Dumb.

I wrote the last line first. An anchor, to hold me steady.


“Prepare yourself,” he warned, holding me close.
Cab to the airport, agonizing flight.
Landing, the truth in his pain-ravaged face.
Hospital room awash with tears, waiting
for her sweetness to morph into memory.
Hurt that burns my chest still and yet today.
Terror-filled to revisit the chasm,
I count on this dim solstice morning to
anchor my ten-year-old retrospective
in the knowledge that we survived such loss.

I’ve never written about that day before, it is a black ocean too wide and dangerous to venture into, knowing the surf might pound me into a thousand pieces. But somehow the constraint of the prompt, the knowledge that I only had to hang in there for 10 lines made the voyage less scary. 2008.

Leave a Reply