30 / 30 Project: A Poem for My Pal Diana

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How excited was I this morning when I woke up to an email from my friend Diana, donating to my Tupelo Press 30 Poems in 30 Days Project, and providing me with a prompt!  A poem immediately started percolating in my mind (even before the coffee), then I sat down to write it.  And holy guacamole…it is nerve wracking trying to write a poem for a friend.  Who knew?  I mean, I like Diana.  And I want her to keep liking me.  So I had to make this A Good Poem.  Ay-yi-yi.

I set my timer for 45 minutes because I had to get out the door and volunteer at my daughter’s book fair.  Not enough time.  I went from the book fair to my studio to teach an art class…and couldn’t wait to get home and work on my poem.  Another ah-ha moment.  When one has a poetry goal, one looks forward to writing.  Again–who knew?

What follows is my poem.  I will call it a rough draft, because it’s still not good enough for Diana.  But it’s a start!

**************************************************

Mary Goes Below the Surface

For Diana McGrath

Frozen lake, after sunset, across a sheet of ice,
Mary searches for the other women.
All her life she has tried to fit in,
worn beautiful robes,
whispered sweetened prayers,
feasted on suitors and saviors.

She has heard it is a different world
down below: slick of seaweed between the legs,
thick lips and silken scales,
mermaids for wet nurses,
fine ocean views.

Like most virgins, Mary believes she is stalking the divine,
forgets her swimsuit, her air tank,
her bright orange life vest.
She is on her own in this sprawl of spawning mothers,
absent men and sand.

The hole so easy to cut,
the dive so easy to make.
Tip of the blade and rhythm,
pointed toes and thrust.

Oh Shanty Town,
Oh Lonely Bride,
Oh One that Got Away,
what your net can’t hold on land,
is the very thing that will kill you here.

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