Wedding Band

You bought me so long ago, I can barely remember.

I sat in a box, soft and dark, until early December.

The lights were so bright, the people all so thrilled.

I was pleased, too, my purpose finally fulfilled.

I rested on his hand, warm and shaking with pride.

(But in just a few years, that warmth would subside.)

He built you a chair, and I got hit with a screw.

It left quite the dent, but I protected him for you.

I clanked against bottles whenever he drank.

Those warm hands grew cold, and my hopeful heart sank.

I remember the feel of your cheek on my skin.

That was the night the policemen barged in.

He threw me away, but you picked me back up.

You cradled me softly like a frightened young pup.

I’ve sat in the box for years, now, I think.

I’m losing all hope and mourning my chink.

But look! There you are! Smiling and crying.

Yes, I do believe this man is worth trying.

 

And here, on his hand, I’ve perched for ages.

I feel a small giggle as he turns the pages

of a little girl’s book, the ink bright and new.

I can’t keep from thinking, “She looks just like you!”

 

Necklace

I have a necklace in my drawer.

It is a locket that holds a clock.

The clock no longer moves its hands.

I bought in a Philadelphia thrift shop

with a group of friends.

For Sarah’s birthday, she takes us all

into the city, into the thrift shops.

We all bought a necklace with a clock.

I am the only one who still wears mine.

The clock no longer moves its hands.

I used to wear it with the pride of knowing

I could pop it open and tell the time.

Time was in my hands.

I wore time around my throat.

But time cannot be held for long.

It slips by, and leaves tiny brass locket cases.

It slips by, and I am the only one who still wears mine.

I wear it when my neck looks too empty.

I cover my emptiness with an empty clock.

It is still right two times a day.

The clock no longer moves its hands.

It is a beautiful conch shell:

Once home to an animal so rare and strange,

an animal that left or died,

leaving behind this necklace for me.

Talents and Desires

When God gave out the talents,

no one really cared,

for then we were one people

and everything was shared.

 

When God dispensed desires,

all fell into dust.

Everyone had different wants,

and we forgot to trust.

 

And while this holy act

brought trials to us all,

I have a certain grievance

that I would like to call.

 

My talents are a pleasure,

I like them quite a bit:

I’m smart, I learn nonstop

I don’t want to pitch a fit…

 

But my desires just don’t match

the talents that God gave.

The things that I can do, you see,

are not the things I crave.

 

Music! Song! to sing aloud

with the power of the sea!

Yet I open up my mouth

and a squalling whine crawls free.

 

Perhaps, I think, my pipes won’t do,

but thunder I will bring.

I’ll just use an instrument

if my voice won’t sing.

 

Alas, my friend, ’tis all for naught,

piano, strings, or flute.

I miss a beat or fingers slip,

and, once again, I’m mute.

 

So, God on High, if you can hear

this flimsy little rhyme,

Gift me with a voice like rain!

It wouldn’t cost a dime.

 

My songbird’s heart is not content

confined by vocal folds.

It needs to fly, release the songs

and brightness that it holds.

Playground

swings

rusty metal creaks and squeals

under the weight of children

children squeal, too

for a second, they will fly

but as children do

they never fear the fall

 

sandbox

dirt and ants and sand

shift and mold like clay

baby gods form mountains, valleys

castles rise and crumble

they have no need for kings and wars

just those fragile walls

 

jungle gym

hot iron, paint, and woodchips

backdrop for many plays

the actors never need their lines

a maze of metal lines and planes

explorers welcome

you’ll never get lost

 

monkey bars

high above the earth

hands tight, arms strong

leaps of faith, no, certainty

speed back and forth, race!

if you jump just enough

proud blisters will remain

 

I am afraid to fall.

I build my castles ready for war.

I am always lost.

I like my hands unblemished.

I may no longer be a child,

but I remember how I loved to play.

Intro to Me!

My name is Tessa Mountain, and I’m a young author who hasn’t written much poetry recently. I usually like to write in prose, so I’m doing this half-marathon to expand my writing abilities. My end goal is to be able to write poetically, even when I’m writing in paragraphs. In order to do that, I need more experience writing poetry and using it to tell a story. My style strays pretty often, and I’m not entirely comfortable with what I write. However, the only way to improve is to step outside of my comfort zones, so I’m ready to try this out and see what happens. I want to be able to inspire the kind of emotions that I feel when I listen to spoken-word poetry, so I’ll try to use the same techniques that I hear in my favorite poets (like extended metaphors and imagery).