National Poetry Month Day 29: “A Children’s Story” by Mary Biddinger
Welcome to The Rumpus’s National Poetry Month project. We’ll be running a new poem from a different poet each day for the month of April.
A Children’s Story
One snowflake was a lantern, the other
a shellfish. They were unnatural enemies.
It took hours for the lantern to realize
its shirt was inside out. Pathetic lantern.
The shellfish wanted deeper, so patriotic.
It jumped turnstiles. Lit the cigarettes
of beautiful women who didn’t know
how to smoke. One snowflake was shy
but not really. They both alleged loving
beds, believed beds were everywhere.
One snowflake hid in the red wire
beard of a dead man. The other ate
a quick brunch at the Walnut Room.
That snowflake had an old Austrian
grandfather. Who didn’t have an old
Austrian grandfather in Chicago, circa
1978? Even old Austrian grandfathers
told stories of their own progenitors.
The best craftsmen could carve a cage
from an egg noodle, a spider from two
glasses of water. One granddaughter
left her tankard of water on the porch
overnight. The sky took it. Deep in
a shed, her old Austrian grandfather
whittled a kerosene lantern out of snow,
saved scraps and threw them in the lake.
If you like what the Rumpus is doing for National Poetry Month, you’ll probably like this multimedia anthology of original poems we’ve run at The Rumpus over the last three years. Available only for iPad. Check it out!