Posted by: Shanna Germain | 11/20/2009

Pg. 182: Five-minute poem

(Five-minute poem. It’s been a while — I forgot how much I enjoyed doing these! Picture is an old one from Scotland, since I don’t have any Texas butterfly pix.)


November Doesn’t Mean Winter

In the shade of a nothing bush, buried in slanted
yellow heat, six hundred wings beat against blue.
Striped black and orange, like Halloween just passed
or our old cat, who always did love your lap best.

I am the walking lonely.
A camera hangs from one hand, a leashed husky from the other.
I’d hold a bottle if I could but my fingerprints are slippery as soap.
Things fall from my life unaccounted for.
The husky pants. I pant.
The butterflies open and close their wings in time
like trap doors, like diaries, like dainty legs.
Now you see me.

Everything’s a surprise these days–
the way you call some mornings and say, “It’s okay.”
The way you don’t call other mornings. Or afternoons.
Or nights.

Or how the field still breaks when the wind stops,
reedy stalks that tremble to fill the too much stillness.
And this wild pack of butterflies in the shade of nowhere,
mating or flying or killing, each wing spanning
a ripping language of dust and delight.


Far and fast, s.



  1. love these lines:

    “Things fall from my life unaccounted for.”

    “I am the walking lonely.”

    “a ripping language of dust and delight.”

  2. Whooie – a fine poem.

  3. Wow. Beautiful. Loved it.

  4. Thanks so much, you guys! I don’t write poetry as much as I should, so these “write a poem in five minute” assignments are such a great way for me to force myself back into the game. There’s no pressure, because you have such a limited time to write it, and there are often little gems that come from it, which is a nice treat 🙂

  5. some bigger brilliant gems too

    great stuff

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