Ode to an Everyday Poet


I remember the night she left.
Her dress, nightgown, brush.
How each quivered in your hands
when you lifted them
from a hospital-scented suitcase,
replaced hers with mine.
A silent drive followed.
Me too small to ask questions.
You wordless in your guilt.

Her cousin's wife's sister took me that first time.
Held me tight,
my heels drumming her skirt,
fists beating her arms,
while you walked away.
Raising a little girl...
It wasn't something you could do.
It wasn't something I allowed you to let go.
Every time you handed me off, I believed you back.
Sometimes it took months, but you always came.

Memories rub like sand
get under my skin
in my eyes.
Your voice still with me,
filling a lifetime of hours
with story/song/fable.
Mending bee-sting to broken heart
with everyday poetry
rolled up in your John-Wayne drawl.

We walked the beach,
my sunrise into your sunset,
the lacy edge of the Atlantic ribboning my ankles.
I can see us,
the goosebumps pebbling my skin.
Hear us,
soprano squeals rising above baritone roar.
You keeping watch, swinging me high
so the big waves couldn't knock me down.

No matter what you do
some waves are gonna knock you flat.
Even one you see coming a long way off.
The last time I saw you,
I did what you never could--
I let go.
I hoped Her arms would wrap around you,
lift you up
when I walked away.
It was the right thing to do.
For you.
I wish I could believe you back.

~Nara Malone

This  is my response to the dVerse Poet's prompt for an Ode to a Poet. Drop by to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself. Happy birthday, dVerse. Happy birthday, Daddy.


  1. Beautiful. I love that everything could once be mended with a poem. Very touching piece.

  2. damn. intensely personal...what a feeling to be passed along for raising...that last stanza from the wave to letting go...its a powerful conclusion to this...really very moving nara...

  3. This moved me very much ~ Letting go of the loved one is very hard to do ~ Thank you for the personal write about your father Nara ~

    Have a lovely week ~

  4. touching write... letting go is one the hardest things...

  5. So beautiful and touching. Letting go is hard to do. I like the line about believing back, that yearning to be close. Lovely & poignant.

  6. P.S. Thank you for your comment on my blog. You're probably right that she should have shredded memories of her boyfriend instead of the book. Logically, yes. Emotionally, she couldn't. Everything about that book reminded her of him--the empty words, broken promises, the inscription, the painful break-up. Getting rid of the book was therapeutic and her way of letting go. Perhaps I should have been clearer and may expand this into a short story. Thanks for the feedback. :)

    1. It wasn't a criticism. Just a thought that popped in my head, I would've rather kept Neruda. But, I got why she did it. Why she had to. I should have been clearer. Lovely poem you did and her shredding the book was an excellent way to display her turmoil.

    2. I like what you said. It made me think. Sometimes we dwell on loss perhaps too long giving it power. When she's finally able to read/own the book again, she will have healed. Thank you. And I plus'ed your poem on G+ ... terrific writing really. I wish I could write about my father the way you do. I hold back. Maybe some day. Smiles.

  7. When a writer is as good as you are, there are no flags signaling fiction from reality; this piece was rife with reality vibes; powerful, personal, heartfelt--it takes us into a dark place & then lets us share the egress; enjoyed it whether fact or fiction; damn good writing.

  8. oh that is very moving... actually brought tears to my eyes... letting go can be so tough even though it is probably the best sometimes

  9. this is quite touching and heartfelt. letting go is not easy and yet sometimes quite necessary. really well written.

  10. Wow, what powerful and touching words you wrapped up in this poem. Beautiful!

  11. Very emotive--that love-hate thing, the difficulty letting go and the sense of freedom when it happens. Of course, the healing power of the poem.

  12. my sunrise to his sunset - that line is astonishingly beautiful - such a open-hearted and touching poem - thanks for sharing it with us - K


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.