Friday, February 01, 2019

Miracle Story Poems

This month I am writing with my Poetry Sisters. We are all writing prose poems in the style of Marilyn Nelson’s “Minor Miracle,” about a small, miraculous thing you have seen or know. Click the link in the poem's title to read Nelson's poem so you know where we are headed. The Poetry Sisters have been writing together for over ten years now, which is hard to believe. This year we are excited to be joined by Rebecca Holmes, starting next month.

What I love most about Marilyn Nelson's poem is the exquisite details in her setting. You can just feel yourself on that bike ride through the countryside, and hear the dialog rip. Also, of course, the amazing turn as the miracle is revealed at the very end. I have been racking my brain for an experience of a small miracle that would fit in a poem. I can think of so many miracles, as God is so good. But they are not small. Maybe none are, right?

So anyway, we got a kitten just after Christmas this year. Talk about small, this cat's tiny. And full of zip. The more I thought about him, the more miracle I saw. It seemed the Spirit was showing me a miracle to write about and share. Here's what I got:

Talk About Minor Miracle

Which reminds me of another bit of fluff
that saved us. When the littlest kitten
skittered into our house, it was a house of broken
hearts, wrung out, stretched thin fears, and
no more family dinners. We’d got to when no one
could stand to sit down together
in case tears choked or fists flew.

After losing so much, there was plenty of space
for a tiny flutter of pin prick, skinny boned,
all sass curiosity that could dash up and
down silly with wide eyed jade gaze. Hungry. Bold
enough and fool enough to catch any dangling
loose end; forgotten strings, crumpled receipts,
dust bunnies or tumbled scraps left too long
for want of care, want of will. We’d lost a child.
Lost a brother. Lost.

“Where’s the kitten?” The youngest son would say,
tipping his head around my door; come out of his cave,
from out the silence around the screen glow. He’d scoop
up kitten from amongst my quilts, pretending
to toss him over. But really, snuggling
that beating heart. The way a teenage
boy grabs a hug, sliding sideways as if.
The wonder of how a curl of fur
fits in a hoodie pocket, finds a warm lap,
accepts kisses. All start and go and what? Eager
to trouble the waters.
-Andromeda Jazmon

Please go visit the blogs of my Poetry Sisters to read their poems, 

Also, please visit the Poetry
Friday Round up at Tabitha Yeatts' blog The Opposite of Indifference. Happy Friday!


Sara said...

There is an ENORMOUS amount of love and detail in this poem, and I adore it. It's like your words are tiny claws, making us pay attention, to both the pain and the joy.

Tabatha said...

There are no minor miracles, are there? Your poem is wonderful. Love that imagery of the tiny flutter of cat, and the sliding sideways hug-acceptance, and how troubling the waters can actually smooth them.

patfarnelli said...

I love this so much. This kitten is the son of my stray/foundling cat Clover. I am so happy he has found this home with a family I love. I hope he uses all his healing and restorative powers there.

tanita✿davis said...

A tiny flutter of pinprick is my FAVORITE phrase to describe a cat of all time. So lovely.

laurasalas said...

Andi, your poem brings me right into your home, being mended in tiny ways by this little spitfire! " After losing so much, there was plenty of space
for a tiny flutter of pin prick, skinny boned,
all sass curiosity that could dash up and
down silly with wide eyed jade gaze. "
I was teary-eyed but smiling all through your poem, but those lines especially made me nod and bob and snuffle. Love.

Tara said...

Your little, furry miracle is a healing miracle - loved the way you described your son's transformation, too. That kitten is a blessing indeed.

Tricia said...

I mentioned on Facebook how much I adored this poem. It is bittersweet, funny, and heartbreaking. On a second read, these lines strikes me:
The way a teenage
boy grabs a hug, sliding sideways as if.
Yup, I know that well. You've chosen just the write words to convey the details of your poem. Thanks for sharing this lovely bit of heartache and hope.

jama said...

Love this, Andi!! Every bit of it.

Mary Lee said...

I love the photos and the glimpses in your poem of all the ways this little bit of spit and vinegar is helping your family to heal! No minor miracles, indeed!

Linda B said...

Plenty of space open, needing to be filled & you've shown us how that (as Laura quotes, too) "tiny flutter of pin prick, skinny boned/all sass curiosity that could dash up and/down silly", yes, helping by being itself, right? Beautifully shown little miracle, Andi!

Robyn Hood Black said...

So much power in this poem, Andi, and the cat imagery is feline-perfect. Fine work to put some of such an overwhelming loss into words, when I can only imagine how words fail. Thank you for sharing.

KatApel - said...

So much heart and detail in this poem. I'm stuck on the beating heart - and the curl of fur in the hoodie. Warm, fragile images of love.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

First Marilyn's poem shocked and becalmed and bedreaded and surprised me, and then yours wrung me out with animal grief and possible healing. Everyday, hidden even, but never minor. Thank you for this poem, Andi.

Liz Garton Scanlon said...

My favorite part of this poem is the tiny exquisite details that speak to how much this kitten matters, how much attention you all pay to her... This is lovely....

patfarnelli said...

I'm not one of your Poetry Sisters, but this assignment inspired me. Here's a prose poem I wrote, not in the suggested style perhaps, about a minor miracle that got me through my last semester of college.

Patricia Farnelli

You mentioned oranges. Our college snack bar had oranges for fifty cents, usually, but one week in the middle of the winter they were put on sale for a nickel. I was renting a room off campus because I had run out of financial aid for my senior year and couldn’t afford room and board. I was working three jobs, putting myself through a private college in Western Pennsylvania, but most of my pay went for my tuition. So I was walking the half mile to campus, and there was snow on the sides of the sidewalks, and I was cold and hungry that day and had no money. I was praying for a nickel to buy an orange. I was just talking to God saying that I was really hungry, could there just be a nickel on the sidewalk, and looking for coins as I walked. To my surprise, on the sidewalk was a beautiful Sunkist navel orange, perfect, not even frozen, on a 20-degree day. It was as if Jesus sent me a message: “I can do better than that, I can give you what you are really asking for, here’s an orange.” And it was bigger and better than the oranges on sale at the snack bar. And a few minutes later, a dollar bill blew in front of me, enough for a cup of tea, and some change left for a few more oranges.

Jone said...

I love this. I can feel the pain of loss and the hope and love a new kitten brings. Beautiful

Karen Edmisten said...

"We’d lost a child. Lost a brother. Lost."

Well, this gutted me.

Beautiful, Andi, so beautiful.

Sometimes I think there are no small miracles, and other times I think every small step (especially those of wading through grief) is an inexplicable miracle.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Pat! Thank you for sharing this poem here. I didn't see it till today, since I am not on my blog as much as I should be. That is so beautiful, and makes me wish I had been more present there and was paying more attention. I didn't realize you were going through that at the time. Thankful Jesus was looking out for you!