Metaphor Deferred

With a title like "Trapeze", Larissa Szporluk invites the reader to imagine that high wire act. And then you read the poem - Where's the trapeze? Yes, the floating, the swing as arms pass- but where is the rest of the metaphor we were already hearing? No net, twists, flips or falls? The reader is forced to bring the trapeze into the poem with little help from the poet. Is the poem itself a high wire act? Is maintaining the relationship in the poem like being on one?

Write a poem where the title acts as a metaphor but omit all but the slightest references to it in the body of the poem. Allow the title to echo in the background of the poem without ever become the main focus. Leave space for the reader to complete this metaphor deferred.

Roller Blades

Speed is what makes it both
beautiful and deadly.
Two weeks after we talk all night
and we're in love?       Oh yes.
We can't breathe.  We shake.
We slide and sway,  our sense
of balance reinvented.
It's too fast.
It's not fast enough.
The crash will come
too soon,
but when it does we'll rise,
clasp bloodied hands,
and balance on the blades.
We'll slice the hearts
of the hardest moonlit streets
again,    again,        again.  

Svea Barrett-Tarleton


Being focused on my "walls"
During these days in the Hole,
I see everything rammed against my nose:
things I've gotten into, been scared of,
been unable to walk away from.

Back in my "druggy" days,
being close to people was a wall.
Newspapers were full of such sad things,
and escape devices, sold daily.
But here it is easier to let go
than I ever could have imagined -
possibly because I never tried.

"Inside" is where I've gone.
I literally can't go " outside;"
so I plunge "IN."
I like this side of me.
learning to know
how very troubled the world is -
such a lost, sad world, this Earth!

I hope every day
for the end of pain and death and tears .
This intense Solitary environment -
this Tribulation - this unknown path
is for my good, leading to a better place

on the outside.

Catherine M. LeGault


The man who used to be my husband asks
me questions now, a thing he never did
while we were married. Now that I’m gone,
he wants to know me.  Why don’t you
take off your ring, he asks. I want to tell him
that when I married, I meant it to be for good.
That while I may have wanted others,
I wanted to be married to only him. That pain
is soft and round and gold. That it will not tarnish.
That it can be made to shine. 

Mary DeBow


How sweet to be motionless in time,
caught at the ripest moment and held
there against a wash of perfect sky.
Even more so to be one who could
do that for others, to help them brush
immortality lightly on the shoulder.

Still, life is movement in one direction
or the other and though you are now
in some other place, I still live here
in these layers of color, changing
by hand and eye and angle,
signing my name in the air.

Kenneth Ronkowitz


The world stains things so easily,
that it's sad that I am trying
to learn to keep these practices.
Perhaps all phenomena is illusion.
Every act is a rite.
Our breath is a fragile thread.
If chopping wood, carrying water,
washing windows is meditation,
then let me focus on us here now.
Let my incense be our scent
in this room, the sound of children
outside the window is my gong,
the pull of the Earth is so powerful
I can't fight its attraction any longer.

Pamela Milne