Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 30

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a stop poem. <and/or> Write a don’t stop poem.

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LUCKY THIRTEEN

This bland waiting room stifles
with the predictable sage
and taupe. They
must have
taken surveys,
done long-term studies and
fancy tests that told them
these
are the least offensive
colors, the most
calming. But I
am desperate for red.
I was just sitting here doing what I’m
supposed to be doing—waiting—
twiddling my hair,
thinking about our recent anniversary,
tapping my pen on the monotonous table,
when it occurred to me
for the first time that this isn’t
a standard appointment.
I could be waiting at this tan table
in this taupe room surrounded by
sage chairs, everything halted,
cautiously mute, dull,
and you could
walk through those doors
and tell me something that will
change us forever.

Didn’t the studies tell them that this is
not the place,
not the time
for careful sages or
quiet taupes?
This is the place for flagrant yellow,
yellow alarm, a yellow that screams Caution! Slow down!
Prepare yourself for what’s ahead!
A yellow that requires the remembering of a daffodil,
a perfect yolk—anything that pins us to this
full and vital life.
This is the place for a piercing blue that takes me to
the sky on our wedding day,
after the April storm had cleared,
the one time I let blue mean happy.
If I am waiting here for words like They can’t be sure but…,
inoperable,
terminal,
I need something to grab onto,
a feisty orange to remind me
of all the reconstruction
God has been doing in us,
in this marriage once riddled with despair,
crumbling and dilapidated,
now built up with wing after rambling wing of
new and shiny rooms
furnished with hope.

But I am most desperate for red,
here in this sodden place.
Desperate for red and its raging song,
each note a blaring tally of the rich goodness:
your pealing laugh,
the contented glances mailed across quiet, firelit rooms,
the classic quips our boys (those clever, unjaded souls) have said over ordinary dinners,
our talks of dreams and hurts over so many sinkfuls of wineglasses and fading bubbles.
Let red stand for these:
these blissful notes, this song, these licking flames
of memory.
Let it stand for these things and not for Stop, for Exit,
for No.
Let the dreaded words not be what we are forced
to take with us today,
making each memory a brief and searing brand.