home going

Now for our prompt (optional, as always). One of the most popular British works of classical music is Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The “enigma” of the title is widely believed to be a hidden melody that is not actually played, but which is tucked somehow into the composition through counterpoint. Today I’d like you to take some inspiration from Elgar and write a poem with a secret – in other words, a poem with a word or idea or line that it isn’t expressing directly. The poem should function as a sort of riddle, but not necessarily a riddle of the “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” variety. You could choose a word, for example, “yellow,” and make everything in the poem something yellow, but never actually allude to their color. Or perhaps you could closely describe a famous physical location or person without ever mentioning what or who it actually is.

i was going home

from the store, pockets heavy
crossing the street i was eighty feet tall
a boy full of breath looking for a good time
a near-man who barely knew of kissing

pew pew pew
i was protecting everyone from robbers
with my plastic
and my wild american imagination
i was almost there

i was fear free flagrant woman
tobacco smoke in the car to balance my mind
i had a long day, my lover held my throat up for kisses before night came

to be honest i didn’t love the song
i just loved the vibration in the seat of the car, the walls, the rolled down windows shivering in rhythm
waiting for the tank to fill
to feel the wind move through our youth

i crashed the car in the night
shook up, surrounded by people in big houses, i chose the closest one
later i sent a thank you note for the moments in the light,
the use of the phone to call my momma

when i was a girl i would curl up next to grandma
so safe, i’d sleep like a cat in the sun
in the blue tones of TV light
on our hushed black street

i thought i was home
but i was going