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  • Writer's pictureandrew jeter

I Decided to Read the News Today

(from the NaPoWriMo prompt: write a poem based on a “walking archive.” What’s that? Well, it’s when you go on a walk and gather up interesting things – a flower, a strange piece of bark, a rock. This then becomes your “walking archive” – the physical instantiation of your walk. If you’re unable to get out of the house (as many of us now are), you can create a “walking archive” by wandering around your own home and gathering knick-knacks, family photos, maybe a strange spice or kitchen gadget you never use. One you’ve finished your gathering, lay all your materials out on  a tray table, like museum specimens. Now, let your group of materials inspire your poem!)[I liked this idea enough to assign it to my students, but the prompt led me in a different direction as you will see. Interestingly, when I was writing this, it reminded me of another poem I wrote last fall that was similarly themed, which, to me, means that this is probably just another draft and both poems are about an idea that my brain wants to spend more time on. Ah, the life of a writer—revise, revise, revise, understand, understand, understand, revise, revise, revise, etc... As always, thank you for reading!]

I went outside today

and in my garden were the tracks

of light-footed deer who 

must have come by while

I was still sleeping,

before the cardinal called

to his rust-brown mate across

the lawn and flew low to the feeder

my husband spent yesterday filling along

with his other chores in the yard while

I pruned the oak-leaved hydrangea

back for its new spring growth.

The mole had been busy too,

tunneling to and fro and then fro again

superhighway constructor below the creaking

oaks and sassafras trees moaning

in our gusty morning like whales lost at sea.

On the rocks by the firepit, a snakeskin

fluttered leaf-like and the cranes wheeled

overhead looking for water and young fish.

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