Submissions Closed, Due to Reopen November 1
Poet Laureate Poem Prompt—Fall 2019 Joanne Townsend
We hope ‘s Joanne Townsend’s poem, “Somewhere Near Odessa” will inspire you, as a reader, to discover a feeling you hadn’t named before or a resonance you hadn’t expected. For the writer/artist, let the poem as prompt carry you to some place new in your work.
Somewhere Near Odessa, 1900
In the low light by the river
my grandparents, so young,
stand in shabby coats and worn shoes.
The bridge casts violet shadows on their fear,
on the pine trees and frigid cold,
the black rage of Russia
an underlying hiss.
He knows he will leave,
the spoken goodbyes harder than hunger,
the thirst deep in him.
He will work and save,
send for her and the children.
He sees her tears and turns away,
his restless mind already in flight,
his feet tapping, tracks
that will fade to memory.
On the way to America,
those cold damp nights on the Rotterdam,
he hears the fading colors of their voices,
diminishing wave lengths, the tossing ship
and the shock of the lonely dark.
This poem was first published in Zingara and is reprinted with the permission of the magazine and of the author.