Half naked on the couch,
in a crumpled afghan,
you ball up on knees and elbows,
derriere where your face would be
if you were sitting: this
because you cannot find your leotards.
To make it better for us all
I clown a quick story
about leotards leaping free
in the front yard,
shaping themselves with snow.
you unfold red-eyed
as they come dancing in,
melting blue on the carpet
where they crawl slowly under the couch,
one toe barely showing, crimped
like a knit brow.
Still determinedly grim,
you reach down without a word,
bring them up and quickly slide
your legs as deep as they will go.
Ten years hence, fifteen and smiling,
perhaps you’ll shake your head at this:
“No, Dad, not me . . . ” to which
I’ll say, “Oh yes . . . ” and then,
with a more convincing voice, quote
your grandfather: “More truth than poetry.”
—Roger Pfingston (Monroe County)
This poem is from A Day Marked for Telling (Finishing Line Press, 2011).
Photo by Tyagan Miller
Roger Pfingston is a retired teacher of English and photography who lives in Bloomington, Indiana. He is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. His poems have appeared recently in Poet Lore, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His chapbook, A Day Marked for Telling, is available from Finishing Line Press.
Poetry Prompt: Sharing an Anecdote
Write a poem addressed to a specific person about an experience you have shared. You might want to ask that the person read the poem under a certain circumstance—perhaps after a certain number of years, in a particular setting, under a specific state of mind, or following a future event. Include descriptive details, interesting verbs, and some dialogue.
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.