Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Moth in a Mason Jar [poem]

Moth in a Mason Jar

Daddy, when I fluttered my wings
at the windows that day mama
got out of the house and I wasn’t
quick enough behind her, were you
a boy that had found some magic
in the woods, sealed the lid to keep
me whatever the consequences?

-----

I've posted before about the time my family lived in a house, an actual house, for the first time instead of a trailer or apartment, and what that meant to me.  A chance at normalcy, as defined by the whole world around me.  A house.  A neighborhood.  A front yard.  A back yard. 

Of course, normalcy is more than brick and mortar. 

We brought our dysfunction with us.  A house, a neighborhood, couldn't make my parents get along.

So they fought.  Again.

So my mother fled.  Again.

She fled during one of the fights, when my father had become incensed to the point of violence.  My mother ran out of the house, grasping at me to take me with her, but somehow my father came between us and I was trapped in the house - the chance at normalcy turned cage - while my mother, outside, went from window to window, looking at my terrified face, trying to see me, trying to tell me what to do, trying to convince my father to stop, to let me out, because he was scaring me. 

The title for this poem came out of nowhere.  It was simple and easy and true.  So, too, the first three lines - a simple description of action. 

I don't know what sparked in my brain to let me write those final lines, when my father turned from a captor to a boy out in the woods, and me into a bit of magic he was keeping in a jar.  Such an innocuous, sentimental, even quaint scene, but the juxtaposition of something terrifying with something innocent magnifies the poem, I believe.  "Whatever the consequences" succinctly elicits the problem - in trying to keep something for ourselves, not allowing it to go, we damage it. 

I wrote this poem on October 22, 2014 as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project.

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