From Minstrel: “After The Disaster”

Living in our last apartment, we lived in the suburbs, but we were still definitely within the city. We didn’t have a lot of untended green spaces around, and parks were small. Yards were small. Your neighbors lived right next to you and you could easily see into each other’s houses if we left the shades open. This is city life. This is actually how I grew up. Our apartment reminded me a lot of how I grew up. On the other hand, this wasn’t really my wife’s experience. She had more wild green areas. She had more exposure to nature and it’s something that’s important to her that our children experience. But for our daughter, nature was something of an oddity and our first few times going out to it had some mixed results. She doesn’t like the smell of pigs, for example. She now loves visiting farms, but isn’t crazy about the smell. And that brings us to “After the Disaster.”

The poem ultimately is about that no matter how city we get, there is always something about the world, the natural world, that will call to us. In this case, it was a mother and daughter trying to catch fireflies in my in-laws’ backyard. Which, while I didn’t do it, was certainly fun to watch and fun for them to do.



After the disaster
of smelly pig poop
at the Great Brook Farm,
she resigned herself
to the reality
that her one and only daughter
was a city girl,
afraid of the farm smells,
the moving, the squirming
animals, the scents
of life and death,
too used to the crowded street
lined with maple trees
and Curious George on TV.

But in the failing light
of Grandpa’s country garden
by the light of the massive fire
burning in a crumbling
cinder block stove,
after charred marshmallows
for dessert,
she finds herself
creeping up,
sneaking up,
with the girl
by her side,
on the little green flashes
dancing around the garden,
catching the blinking bugs
in her hands
and sharing them
like a sacred secret.

“After the Disaster” was written during the Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge and published in The Minstrel of Belmont by Finishing Line Press. This poem was written during a Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge.

This entry was posted in Creative Writing, Family, Minstrel of Belmont, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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