In Science class Scott watched
oblong slow motion into a cup of water.
From that day forward he was changed,
saw everything in delay.
Holding his mother’s hand,
walking toward a store entrance,
the slide doors waiting to swallow them,
he would light his mind on a bird,
imagine its ponderous hops,
the little spring of talons.
His mother would tug his fingers,
always in a hurry, but for the most part
he found he could lag any small
item of his life – leaves along the sidewalk,
his sister blowing out birthday candles.
He could keep those things and replay
them later, longer, stretched.
He could collect and keep each moment safe.
This is another one of those poems that'd been rolling around in my head for a while. I had the first few lines written down on a paper, and nothing after it for a long, long time. Then the 30/30 Project came up, and I signed up for it, and suddenly I had a really rather effective extrinsic motivation to finish it. I'm not sure about the title. I'm not sure about the last line either. Maybe I could clip it and the poem would be fine, even better? I like the imagery with the mother holding the boy's hand, and the moments spent with the little bird, and the parallels to be drawn there from our collective cultural and religious references, especially when the poem starts in Science class. I suppose you could call this another one of my created-character poems - though the poem doesn't focus all too much on describing Scott, you still get a pretty strong idea of the kid by watching the world through his mind. He's a weird little kid, a future scientist. I think, in finishing the poem, subconsciously I patterned him off of the character of Sheldon from the television comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory. There's definitely some pathology in development here. That's not what I was thinking or writing toward when I started the poem, I don't think. I don't remember. I'm pretty sure I was intending to communicate some loneliness, some only-childness, some imaginariness, with which I am certainly familiar. Anyway, here's the poem, hope you like it.
This poem was written on October 28, 2014 as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project.