I mean, I didn’t put them in an actual pocket. They went into more of a head-pocket – you know, that pocket you put things in when you’d like to take them out and admire them throughout the day but they often stay there gathering lint because something else urgently demands your attention? Do you know?
For my daughter, these pocket gems are often smooth pebbles she’s found on the blacktop at school, or sometimes they’re lip gloss or chapstick or superballs or folded paper creations which have become cell phones or DSi’s or calculators or remote controls to secret space capsules. They go into an actual pocket.
… whereas for me, they are more like –
One butterfly wing on the sidewalk:
obsidian, crimson, tangerine,
just lying there
on my way to work. Words that stick.
And usually, I don’t take them out to look at them more than once. I rarely share them. Which is, I think, the point of Poem in Your Pocket Day. Have you heard of that? It was yesterday.
Except that I wasn’t sure if PYPD celebrants were meant to share classics like –
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
by William Carlos Williams
or to see the world for one day through a poet’s lens. Either way.
It started when my daughter said, from her place of regality in the smallest room of our house: “Mom. My feet smell like salmon. That’s my poem. Do you like it?” which my partner later contextualized for me by explaining Poem in Your Pocket Day, which she heard about on National Public Radio.
And so it is that after five sets of family members buzzed through our guest room in the space of two weeks – each one warm and lovely and funny and the best kind of guest a gal can hope to have (the kind that strips the bed and leaves their towels on the washer in the basement, greets me cheerily in the morning and means it, the kind that even Makes Me Coffee – unless it was my loving partner who made the coffee, sensitive to the needs of the morning-impaired), I found myself –
Straining for sanity…
Can you see what’s out there?
Past the fence?
And I thought: No, the words in my head are not going to cross-stitch themselves onto any pillows today. Nor will they appear in any future anthologies to be carried around in someone else’s pocket in 2032.
And yet, somehow still, I have a deep appreciation for the day.
And I think it’s because my day began
– well, after our newest before-school morning routine, which involves twenty minutes that can neither be accounted for, comprehended, nor regained, accompanied by semi-empty threats, sighs of exasperation, giggles of glee, the collection of afore-mentioned treasures, and eventually the pulling on of socks and shoes and the handling of breakfast on the way out the door –
with my partner’s email to me, entitled “For your pocket.” This was my favorite poem of the day, from my partner who is not a poet, who is this moment out of town with her best friend and our spotted dog, Frankie –
Words delightful dancing
Her life a Poem
And so it is. The best kind of poem.
I know it’s Friday and theoretically all pockets have been emptied, but I have to ask because I (for one) am often a few beats behind –
Is there a poem in your pocket today?