NaPoWriMo 2017

National Poetry Month Challenge: Write one poem a day for 30 days.

April 2017

Day 1

We walked hand-in-hand
down the tree-lined road—
the sun falling, leaves stirring,
something in the distance approaching.

A swirling path cut through the tall grass. Jagged-edged pieces of solar-powered LEDs were embedded into the concrete in intricate patterns like mosaics made from glass. The lights slowly tinged with color as the sky drew darker. With each drop of the sun, the lights burned brighter until there was nothing for miles but galactic swirls of light below our feet, a million stars glowing over our heads.

Stains of blue and green:
an oceanic, other-
worldly starry night.

Only one thing was ever more beautiful than to be surrounded by galaxies: a single moment that encapsulated the entire evening before the sun even set. Just before we veered onto the path that would take us into the magic that Vincent pulled from the skies of the Nuenen countryside and brushed onto canvas, we received an other-worldly send off.

A local cycled by on an antique bike,
a pony galloping at his side.
With a nod, a knowing smile:
“Enjoy the starry night.”

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 2

Curled up
on the bed:
fetal,
cat-like.
Palms gripping
feet as if
to keep
from running
off.
Each brief
escape out
the back door
a bittersweet
taste of what
came before.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 3

When you found me,
I was diamond raw:
imperfect, unpolished,
opaque.

You dug me out from rock,
exposed me but never fully
pulled me out
so that I could only be yours.

For years I endured you—
your highs and lows
and hots and colds,
fairytales and chokeholds.

All I ever wanted was to be
carved, cut, and misshapen
until I was multifaceted,
fluorescent.

And that’s the way
you left me: a little more
vulnerable,
a little more scarred,

a little more wary of
trusting anyone
but me
with the shaping of my heart.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 4

I fell deep
into their
shallow pools,
glimpsed my
own ocean
depths
in their mirror
surfaces.
I slinked
down their
tributaries
that spewed
me out into
star-studded
galaxies.
Here I float
aimlessly,
waiting for
the final tug
toward the
black holes
I’m orbiting.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 5

Rubber sole to asphalt,
streetlights piercing
the darkness, blotting out
half the stars in the sky
as we pass rows of streets

lined with fruit trees,
freshly mowed grass,
pink bougainvillea crawling
up and over gates,
the side of a house.

A manicured oasis
in the middle of the city,
the desert’s pupil,
disrupted briefly
by a coyote emerging

from the shadows
of a landscaped yard.
Down the sidewalk he goes—
north on 5th, a sharp
left onto Cambridge.

As quickly as one yard
spit him out, another
swallows him up, and we’re back
beneath yellow lights,
sirens blaring in the distance.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 6

I.
In the West,
the sky is vibrant
and vast.
White cotton clouds
give the photographer
contrast.

II.
Heavy, dark,
a menacing storm
forms over fields
begging for relief
from drought.

III.
There is no sky
from the rainforest
floor.
Only glimpses of light,
only falling stars.

IV.
Nighttime, a favorite:
meteorites fall
for young lovers,
stars align to recite poetry,
and sometimes the moon
smiles back.

V.
Arizona sunsets
look like watercolor
paintings
set ablaze.

VI.
Everything is white
after snowfall.
Everything.

VII.
Blue.
Endless Crayola blue.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 7

As I thought about how
ridiculous reincarnation
sounded,

I thought to myself: What if
there is a God?
If so,

I’m going to hell—
the hell of lava and rock,
screams and horned beasts

the creators of that show
about witches in Salem
dreamt up.

Trembling,
I tried to recall everything
I learned in The Bible

only to find relief.
Genesis 1:1: In the beginning,
God created the heavens and the earth.

Yeah, and once upon a time,
princes resurrected dead women
with their lips,

genies lived in lamps,
and a wooden puppet turned
into a real boy.

And when I think about God
before he created
the earth,

I just imagine a giant
glowing cartoon god like Zeus
from that animated Hercules movie

lounging in space,
one arm resting on Jupiter.
And with the snap of his fingers:

“Poof! There’s Earth!
Poof! There’s daylight.
Poof! Here’s some green stuff!

Poof! We got corn,
you can eat it!
Now I think I’ll make somes animals!

What are animals, you ask?
Poof! Here’s an antelope!
Poof! There’s some jellyfish!”

He stepped back,
cocked his head to the right,
and looked at the world he had just created.

“Nah. I’m too tired to fix it.
Poof! Humans.
They’ll get rid of it.”

And it was good.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 8

Every morning I
s t r e t c h
my arms up
high, as if
to pull the sun
from the sky,
implant it
in my belly
hoping
its heat
will fuel me
into being.
Some days
the sun slips
right into
my fingers.
Some days
there are just
too many
clouds
to dig through.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 9

I want to be in the forest
beneath shooting stars,
jeweled canopies that
color my skin the way
stained glass paints
an empty church—     its benches
still virtuous, its water
still holy.

I want to stand at the base
of a mountain          look up
and feel small,
insignificant
before I crawl back
into my tent.
Come morning, I emerge
bent at the knees,
shoot my arms straight up
from the soles of my feet,
and greet her majesty
as an equal.

I want to feel the rush
of a creek, let the child in me
run wild as I hop
from rock to rock:     Watch out
for sharks! Careful: hot lava!
Don’t wake the dead!
—and what other perils
awaited me if I couldn’t
keep my balance.

Why wasn’t I born
on the forest floor,
leaves between my toes,
dirt stuck to my navel?
Or between the sway
of grass, as fluid
as I came,

in the middle of a storm,
the rain rinsing
my blood,
washed ashore with the foam,
as salty as I’ll become?

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 10

If you’re out there,
come find me.
Poke holes in
my body: see
how I bleed.
Is your blood
red, too?
Or do you
bleed orange
like Jupiter?
Neptune blue?
All the stars
are on you
and me
to witness
either violence
or curiosity.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 11

What was that man
doing
falling below
the horizon in
my dream, looking
as if he’d fallen
out of a Greek
tragedy, his naked
body sketched
and blue,
his face
forlorn, eyes cast
to the side?

When the last
of him fell
from sky
to sea, I asked
the stranger
in bed with me:
What happens
when
the man falls
completely
from the sky?
“Total darkness,”
she replied.

But what
does that mean?

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 12

Today I am utterly
empty:
blank space
encased in
skin.

Blink twice if
you’re alive,
once if you’re
dead.

I’m somewhere
in between
living
and dying:

my limbs go
through the motions,
the head fears,
the heart wants,

the heart wants what
the head fears,
and I’m caught somewhere
in the middle.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 13

Long summer days drip down your limbs and legs, the heat
seeping in and out of every pore. Oh, the heat.

In the desert, it’s unbearable—a dry, constant burn
that sucks moisture from skin like grapes left in the sun’s heat.

In the south, summer sticks to you, flies and all. And all that sticky sweat’s
got the teenagers running off causing trouble. Oh, that southern heat.

My first kiss was in the summer, in the dirt, under trees—
he reached his hand up under my skirt, taught me a whole new kind of heat.

Lord, I miss the humidity—that wet, lazy, June bug sticky, clumsily clambering
on top of each other southern summer heat. Oh, that southern heat.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 14

Damp sand cradles my feet,
a salt-soaked wind licks my skin.

The smell of seaweed crawls across
my upper lip, wraps around my limbs.

A soft roar flows in and out of my ear,
encases me in foam, buoys me off to sleep.

The sun sets,
the seagulls are flocking.
A siren sings:
the ocean is calling.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 15

I.
Midnight: insomnia strikes.
Ghosts arise
where there are none,
and the cat roams his
castle, howling nocturnes.

II.
What I would give to be
unconfined by the circadian
rhythm, to navigate
the shadows, watch stars
bloom into dawn.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 16

Every day
I am halfway
to living,
halfway to
dying.

In the gap
between living
and dying,
desire runs off
like a cat
startled by
headlights,
approaching foot-
steps.

I long for
everything, but
feel nothing.
Food is dust,
music is noise,
and I am all
I have
and my own worst
Enemy

My skin peels
back:
muscles ache,
vessels bleed.
My heart slows,
on standing,
picks up speed.
It’s the soul
that’s stopped

when you’re
halfway
to living, halfway
to dying.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 17

Your eyes fall upon me
like fingers fall onto piano keys.

You are incandescent
with hunger.

I can smell the blood
on your throat from here.

Romantic fool, I dream of dying
to violins, beneath the stars,

moonlight illuminating my skin,
my lover taking me in with ravenous eyes.

Your fingers trace my lips,
slip down to the curve in my neck.

Cold skin, warm breath:
you drink me in.

Stars dance across
my paling skin.

But I am not only dying,
for my blood spills with yours.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 18

Today I am
unexplainably
tired.
The sun is
too bright,
and I fear
I might be
in danger
of falling off
the edge
of the earth—or
the edge
of the bed.
Only one
would hurt, and
I’m not sure
which
I’d prefer.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 19

My heart is as
restless
as the sea,
my thoughts
intertwining
like the tangled
branches and flora
that give the
forest its canopy.
When will the sun
meet my skin?
What shore
will I call
home?

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 20

She lies in the deep: honeyed voice,
barnacled limbs,
kelp hair blossoming from her head
like a maned lioness.

Her enigmatic songs, as warm
and sweet
as a setting summer sun,
fall as banshee screams upon dry ear drums.

If her eyes were the ocean’s sapphiracal expanse,
her heart would be its unrest—

she’d give up her soul to shed
her calcified scales for bare limbs,
her mellifluous voice for breath.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 21

I hear
the ocean
waves
in the rise
and fall
of passing
cars, feel
the tropics
along my
curves.

My hair is
strips of sunset
on the water’s
lapping surface,
my skin
a stretch
of sand.

My eyes
are hidden
lagoons:
little jewels
with interminable
depths
beckoning
you
to dive in.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 22

I’ve heard
music
can either
help you forget
or remember
everything.
How true:
some days
I’m off
in another
galaxy,
plucking stars
from the sky,
my lover
and I driving
in circles round
the rings of
Saturn,
and some days
I’m back
with you:
I love yous
on your lips,
alcohol
on my breath,
pinned down
by the weight
of you.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 23

Mango
Ripens, unfolds
Under my lips
Tongue and flesh kiss
Delights

Strawberry
Blushes, swells
In summer heat
Melts in your mouth
Ecstasy

Peach
Flesh softens
Beneath light pressure
Teeth sink into skin
Rapture

Plum
Plucked plump
From outstretched limb
Falls sweet on tongue
Elation

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 24

When the heat beats against my neck,
rolls down my back, soaks my shirt wet,
I lie down: belly up, arms spread.

Hardwood floors collapse, and I
splash into a green-blue lake.
Its flowered surface buoys me

under the afternoon sun peeking
through the overhead branches
lush with emerald green leaves

dancing in the warm summer breeze
fragrant with damp earth, wildflowers,
the unmistakable grass-stained scent of youth.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 25

You never forget your first love—
I didn’t forget any of them: like
or not, love or lust.

They’re all Polaroids strung up
on knotted twine. Sometimes
I go back

and study each one. I remember
everything: the way their lips curled
or their fingers felt

between mine; their teeth, their freckles,
the way their eyes—twinkling, piercing,
or stag-like—scanned me

come morning; the way their brow
crinkled or eyes widened;
how they’d leave.

I don’t know what use it is,
what it means: holding on
to all these ancient memories,

crawling back and back and forth
between them as if nothing’s
changed at all.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 26

Creatures crawled from nightmares,
the ends of smoking pipes filled
with hash:

rabbits shot bows and arrows
from atop their greyhounds,
a fish bore the head of a cat,

snails attacked men, wolves were gods
and naked women tamed
and straddled phallic dragons.

Were medieval men disturbed
or just ahead of their time? High,
bored, or vegan?

And meanwhile, up on a tree limb
King lion played Chopin nocturnes
on violin.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 27

We sit in the back row,
just inches apart,
the armrest acting as a barrier
between us. A girl
screams, a chainsaw whirs,
blood splatters in front of us:
nerves racing, faces
glowing. He peeks over
at me and swiftly lifts
the armrest til suddenly
there was nothing
between us but atoms
and body heat.
My mouth dries, then
salivates, dries, salivates,
back and forth
in anxious, animalistic
anticipation
until my tongue sours,
exacerbating my nervous gut—
I want this first kiss more than
anything and anything but.
And then it’s happening:
his lips meet mine, his
tongue knocks against them,
I part my lips, our tongues
kiss, and I’m missing it.
All I can think about is what
he’s thinking about: this chick tastes
gross! does she even brush?
(I swear I do! I DID!)
He pulls back in a rush,
my heart sinks, but our lips
again meet. He retreats,
just barely, just long enough
to breathe: “You taste like candy.”

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 28

My days are empty, my body
vacant. I walk about
like a skeleton searching
for something warm to
burrow in—when I’m not too
weak from the lack of meat
on my bones.

At night my insides spill out
like coral, its tentacles
reaching out for something to satiate
the hunger built
during the day, filled with
tediously avoiding predators,
erecting stone armour.

But some nights, I reach too
far, and what little I’ve taken
in is furiously swallowed up
by blue glows that
by morning have stripped me
to the bone, already too lifeless
to give more.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 29

I.
Inhale: Imagine your belly
filling up with light.

II.
The waxing moon grows
in the night sky
like a fetus in its womb.
In twenty-eight days,
it will birth a shadow.

III.
The full moon pulls me out
from the uterus, shedding
the sticky dust of infertility.
Hurricanes rage
in the canals of my anatomy.

IV.
The woman in me
bites her tongue,
hides her shadows.
The wolf runs wild:
howling up at sky,
digging into the dirt,
proudly wearing blood
on her jaw, mud in her fur.

V.
Moon is mother
to newly hatched younglings
crawling clumsily
to the sea.
She cannot protect them;
she can only call them home.

VI.
Exhale the dark energy
from your body
as the womb swells
into an illuminant orb—
let it lighten the woman
and feed the wolf
so that both may run wild
barefoot on the earth.

– Kaitlin Meilert

Day 30

1:21 a.m.
I’m pulled from a dream
by the cat’s hungry drawl.
Like the night before,
I tiptoe out of bed,
feed my feline a morsel
of food—a habit for which
I’m to blame—and plant
myself on the couch,
body too pumped with
adrenaline, brain too busy
for slumber.
For the next hour or so,
I catch up on the lives
of people I don’t know,
save three bras and
five pairs of leggings
on Amazon,
email myself a dozen recipes
I’m sure I’ll make
but never will,
read the news
and immediately regret it,
wondering how anyone
can go on living
in this world.
By 3:00, I’ll drag my
sandbag body back to bed,
begging myself
to put an end to this
exhausting midnight routine.

– Kaitlin Meilert