Far from the Cradle
Tonight, I won’t open my door.
I’ll creep with the lights off and hope
and pray, they don’t look my way.
I’ve been afraid to take the gun out of the drawer.
All the what if’s torment me.
But there are demons
They crawl in and out of cars and find the right door,
just a few paces away, reeking of cigarettes, booze, weed.
The marrying of poverty and ignorance and desperation,
converging on a single apartment.
In all ages and colors, they flail their arms,
sling curses, daring anyone to look.
Sometimes they come down to my door, slamming
their palms to the door. We just need a ride.
They know I am inside.
They are so far from the cradle, I think.
the needles sing their lullabies now.
Tonight, I’ll take the gun
from the drawer.
I’ll load it while they gather and
celebrate the brief exchanges made,
then dance the way they do when
baggies are stuffed in their pockets.
I’ve seen their toothy grins;
gleaming white crescents catching the moon.
The haze that rots them seals me in;
blinds closed, I’ll load the gun.
Fear, my loathsome companion, is a mere whisper.
A gray, blank-faced thing that cowers in the corner
stealing glances, nudging me to
load the gun.
It is the only thing left to keep them,
— outside of my door.
Today’s prompt was to write an emotive poem and given last night’s events, fear was the first emotion that came to me. To be honest, it wasn’t all that easy to try to evoke fear in a poem; perhaps it was more effective to evoke a sense of worry. But I wanted to try something different from the “usual” ideas of love or maybe sadness. There are so many emotions that poetry can express: happiness, sadness, love, anger, jealousy, rage, grief, tension, curiosity, shock, passion, greed. I went with fear. I’d love to know what emotion you felt when reading this poem, if any at all. Thanks for reading. (More about the prompt below.)
I think I will revisit this prompt throughout the week if other particular emotions strike me. It isn’t often I feel fear. Most of the emotions I feel are happiness, joy, humor, serenity, strength, energetic, anger or frustration, regret and boredom. Fear, however is one I have been pretty well able to keep in check. But last night, as a trio of young men strung out on drugs banged on my door nearing midnight, I froze.
No, I didn’t answer the door.
About this Prompt
For National Poetry Month, the POMpoets are taking up a writing challenge of our own. We are calling it #NatPoWriMo, a kind of spin-off from the more well-known #NaPoWriMo. Today’s prompt is:
Write a poem that embodies a very strong emotion (emotive poem).