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by April Halprin Wayland

Everything’s changed.
She used to float above me like a soft, white cloud.
Now her voice is sharp with lightning strikes;
she thunders at me for little things.

What happened?
She used to be sunny,
scratching my rump
or giving me that bone stuffed with peanut butter.

Everything’s changed.
Now her voice is winter
and she only gives me a bone
when I’ve done all that sit-stay-down-roll over stuff.

What happened?
There are still storm clouds in her eyes.
I wonder if pulling all the stuffing out of her couch
had anything to do with it?

Poetry Prompt:  In this poem, the first line of each stanza alternately repeats.  Repetition is wonderful seasoning for poetry, songs, and children’s picture books.  This poem is also a mask poem. I love Mask Poems.  In a mask poem, I slip inside an inanimate object or animal.  (For more about mask poems, click on my 2011 poetry month blog and scroll down to April 14th.)

There are lots of metaphors in this poem.  My friend Bruce Balan, who critiques my poems on a daily basis, writes:

“My problem with it is you are trying to use your metaphors and they aren’t a dog’s metaphors. They are April’s metaphors.They are very poetic, and perhaps too complex, for a dog who doesn’t understand why everything’s changed.”

I think he’s right.

It’s your turn. Use repetition in a poem.  But don’t over do it.  Once you have a pattern established, consider breaking it once or twice to wake up your readers.

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