NAPOWRIMO Day 18: My Distant Love Appears Unannounced

NAPOWRIMO Day 18: My Distant Love Appears Unannounced

Let her in, she is crying
She wants to get out, but is entangled.

Into the night,
He wandered and played about.

Again, another excuse
My distant love appears unannounced.

I don’t care as my heart is overflowing.

Is he weary of carrying a heavy load?

A few extra pounds never hurt anyone.

Never empty-handed,
My distant love appears unannounced.

The night frost does not freeze him out,

He breaks the chains,
My distant love appears unannounced.

I drink it all in.

He smells like short bread cookies,
Holding back tears, he offers me delicious gifts,
My distant love appears unannounced, foolishly.

I did not intend to make him sad by asking for too much.

He sacrifices himself to offer such gifts
My distant love appears unannounced.

I am starved
Craving naked ebony morsels
Though I have tasted other colors, too.

My woman’s appetite cannot be contained.

I cannot have just one
My distant love appears unannounced.

I am not proper, I have shed all rules.

I am always trying things.
She is crying loudly, unashamed.

A figure emerges from the fog.

Offering a sacrificial feast
My distant love appears unannounced.

~Just L (April 18, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-the-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-the-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

Source Poem:

My Lover Who Lives Far

BY CAMILLE T. DUNGY

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and offers supper in a bowl made of his breath.

The stew has boiled and I wonder at the cat born from its steam.

The cat is in the bedroom now, mewling. The cat is indecent
and I, who am trying to be tidy, I, who am trying to do things

the proper way, I, who am sick from the shedding, I am undone.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and offers pastries in a basket spun from his vision.

It is closely woven, the kind of container some women collect.

I have seen these in many colors, but the basket he brings is simple:
only black, only nude. The basket he brings is full of sweet scones
and I eat even the crumbs. As if I’ve not dined for days.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and offers tea made from the liquid he’s crying.

I do not want my lover crying and I am sorry I ever asked for tea.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room pretending
he never cried. He offers tea and cold cakes. The tea is delicious:
spiced like the start of our courtship, honeyed and warm.

I drink every bit of the tea and put aside the rest.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
like a man loving his strength. The lock I replaced
this morning will not keep him away.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and brings me nothing.

Perhaps he has noticed how fat I’ve grown, indulged.

Perhaps he is poor and sick of emptying his store.

It is no matter to me any longer, he has filled me, already, so full.

My lover who is far away opens the door to my room
and tells me he is tired.

I do not ask what he’s tired from for my lover, far away,
has already disappeared.

The blankets are big with his body. The cat, under the covers,
because it is cold out and she is not stupid, mews.

Camille Dungy, “My Lover Who Lives Far” from Smith Blue. Copyright © 2011 by Camille Dungy.  Reprinted by permission of Southern Illinois University Press.

Source: Smith Blue (Southern Illinois University Press, 2011)

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