National Poetry Writing Month 2017, Day 3

My third poem for National Poetry Writing Month uses the prompt from, which is to write an elegy, with a focus on something unusual about the person or thing being mourned. My poem is addressed to a friend of mine who died about two-and-a-half years ago, and a weekend spent with her and a group of her friends during my first summer vacation (August 1988) after moving to Tokyo. Technically, I wrote this poem on Day 2, but the Day 3 prompt went up at midnight Eastern Time, so I am counting this as my official Day 3 poem…

The Polaroid I never got to see

It was the night of too much alcohol
the Polaroid I never got to see
things I’d never expect of me
and sleeping it off alone

I got to kiss you that night
It had never occurred to me before
but maybe it should have—
though by morning

it was just another Polaroid I never got to see
(I didn’t keep count
but if I didn’t get to see the one
I assume there must have been others)

And it never led to anything more
or changed anything between us
as though it had happened only in my mind
as a dream to keep me going through the night

The next day we swam in the ocean
not far from the boats by the quay
and joked about the night before
and the Polaroid I never got to see

I still have things you gave me
along with a jumble of memories
but not that t-shirt I wore
it disappeared somewhere before I got home

like the Polaroid I never got to see

(2 April 2017—posted April 3rd ET)


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