Just One

April is National Poetry Month! So here’s one of my earlier pieces to celebrate the power of the Word.

Words jingle in my ears
like pennies
in the pocket
of my navy wool pea coat. 
When I was ten,
one word would buy
a licorice whip
red or black
or a thick block
of Bazooka bubble gum
complete with color
comic strip.
You could blow bubbles
from 2:30 till dinner time
round and pink
like Valentine hearts.

One word could be
peeled and sliced
like an apple
so the brown tear-shaped
seeds slid off the knife
and into your hand.
One word was succinct enough
to serve as an honest
medium of exchange, 
a token of affection.

Now talk is cheap.
Scatter words on the sidewalk; 
no one even bothers to pick them up.

Still I save words.
I drop them into big glass jugs
hide them in the ash tray of my car
sort them by year
roll them in brown paper
bury them in the back 
of my lingerie drawer.

They are orange
like the moon or marigolds.
I string them together:
they become a coral necklace
or amber rosary beads.
I toss them before me
like a hopeful
ten-year-old in the midway
throwing sweaty coins
at crystal candy dishes
and fluted cake plates
but the words hit the cold glass
and bounce right off.

Catch one.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “Just One

  1. Wonderful poem, Nancy! I so love the idea of someone saving words “in big glass jars” and in car ash trays. And that last line… throwing it to the reader to catch the words… and we do! Nicely done!

  2. Nancy, this poem is a slideshow of things I remember so well. Thank you! My writing group is having a poetry reading session this month to honor Poetry Month. We miss seeing you at Wellspring!

    1. Thanks so much, Dick! It’s been a long time since I’ve been to or participated in a poetry reading. Takes me back. I was actually thinking it might be fun to do an event/reading as a fund raiser for Wellspring. We shall see. . .

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