Before a hammer meets an anvil,
there is a pause midair
and time is suspended.
He forged horseshoes in a fire
built each day before sunrise.
Before bed, he would brush
her hair one hundred strokes.
I never saw such tenderness.
He must have thought of water
falling from a sun-struck cliff.
He must have thought of rose
petals floating in a rain barrel.
He must have thought he heard
a whisper of wings—
singing in the palm of his hand.
—Jessica D. Thompson (Posey County)
This poem originally appeared in New Southerner.
Jessica D. Thompson lives in New Harmony, Indiana. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and recently appeared in the anthology, Circe’s Lament: Anthology of Wild Women Poetry (Accents Publishing). She is the recipient of the James Baker Hall Memorial Prize in Poetry (New Southerner, 2013) and the Kudzu Poetry Prize (Kudzu, 2014). Her poetry chapbook, Bullets and Blank Bibles, is available from Liquid Paper Press.
Poetry Prompt: Character Sketch
Write a poem about a person defined by his or her occupation (a plumber, astronomer, salesclerk, soldier, ect.). This person can be real or fictional, or both. How do the actions or desires of this character surprise expectations? Use concrete imagery that paints a picture as you speculate upon the character’s thoughts, fears, memories, or motivation.
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.