November PAD 14: Daring

Today’s Prompt: Write a deadly and dangerous poem.

Today’s Poem:


This is the product of unmanned
children in a church-side cemetery,
in an age where boring rectangular
headstones were not yet in fashion:

We rationed ourselves to the outskirts,
moving slowly and pointing, sucking
the salt from our thumbs and forefinger
as we ate our banana chip snacks.

We knew all about Obeah* and Duppy
stories**, what not to do near a grave,
but soon we investigated the hovering
statues, the smooth tiles, the names.

We began with the simple things:
a hand on a carved angel for five ticks,
singing “Woman in a Churchyard Sat,”
then, proving I was unfazed and unafraid,

I scoffed at the challenge. But
ten seconds is a long time
as fearful, awed faces cringed
above me, begging me to climb

off the cold slab stone grave,
as if I would fall in, as if it was not
just like a step on which one could lie
supine, as I was, like a breathing corpse.

When I closed my eyes to let the
potential nightmare stay inside my head
they screamed and fled and assumed
I had laid too long with the dead.

*Obeah – Jamaican black magic
**Duppy – Jamaican word for “ghost”

Today’s Ponderings: I wrote about a silly event in my childhood because I was inspired by some of the poems on Poetic Asides today. With this, I have discovered the theme of my chapbook: history and lists. More on that soon too come.