April 21, 2017
Big Red

—Lindsey Warner
Posted in celebration of National Poetry Month

Strong men like to tout
they aren’t afraid of dying.
But they haven’t seen you. 
At 89 and maybe the same number of pounds
you slide through
the bottom of your wheelchair,
sand in an hourglass.
You clutch a wide eyed baby doll
in your lap, an anchor
keeping you here with us.

But why?
I wonder what
your purpose could be,
waiting in stifling rooms
amongst other shrunken bodies,
other baby dolls,
all blank looks and nappy hair.
Is there enough of you left
to long for the weight of
a long nose revolver
or a stick of lipstick in your hand?
Do your feet miss
slipping into a tiny pair
of golden snakeskin flats?

The skin of your thin arms
is painted purple with bruises
from when, sedative-free
you either longed for the sun on your face
or the sound of broken glass.
You’re lucid now,
Your dyed magenta hair
matted in the back.
Your sunken mouth
forms mismatched syllables,
mumbles a giggle.
You feed your doll
orange sherbet,
laugh,
touch the side of my face.

 
—Lindsey Warner (Hendricks County)

Lindsey Warner is an art teacher, mother, and writer on the west side of Indianapolis.  She has been writing poetry since she was a little girl.  She was recently nominated for a Pushcart for a poem published in Flying Island.  She enjoys making art, writing, being outside, and traveling.

Poetry Prompt: Dealing with Confinement
Write a poem addressed to someone confined by a physical or mental condition, a monotonous job, a closed-in environment, an injurious habit, etc. To what extent is this person a victim? To what extent does he or she reach beyond impediments? Instead of addressing a person, you might speak to an animal or plant that seems in some way imprisoned.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem and prompt every day in April. Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner selected these poems and wrote the prompts.

Posted In: Poetry