Poem of the Week, by Grace Cavalieri

Check out my one-day creative writing workshops this month and next – spots are still open in most of them and I’d love to see you in one!

Last Monday my daughter and I sat side by side on a gray couch, both of us working on our laptops while rain poured down the windows. In between tasks we talked idly about ginger-lemon tea, various regional terms for water fountains, and how to bleed radiators. We tried to figure out why anyone would choose to buy 66% less sodium salt. We laughed at funny Tiktok videos.

At one point she brought up the glittery plastic hair clip she had used throughout middle school and how that kind of clip was back in style.

I still have that thing! I said. It’s in the top bathroom drawer!

She smiled and petted the soft gray cat curled up between us on her long, long legs. I pictured that cheap glittery clip and was suddenly borne back in time to her kindergarten days, how every morning she wanted a different hairdo and how I tried and often failed to arrange her sproingy dark curls the way she wanted. All the years between then and now swam before me and once again I was swamped with the intensity of my love for her.

A glittery hair clip. Such a little thing, except not.

How a Poem Begins, by Grace Cavalieri

It’s a little thing. Could be
the long o’s in Kosovo, or
a woman
alone in the street
after the hurricane
sweeping Honduras.
Perhaps we tell of a child
beneath the flood
in New Orleans, or
feet bloody from
walking the rubble
of Afghanistan.
They say poetry is
such a tiny voice
no one can hear.
Sometimes it says
“I can’t breathe.”
That’s why we write of such
little things, insignificant things.

For more information about Grace Cavalieri, please check out her website.

Words by Winter: my podcast

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