Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash


The hedgehog
craves closeness of warmth
and comfort
but it can’t
risk hurting those they care for
or wounding themselves

nature or nurture
emotions flatlined and taut
growing defective

not seeking the gaze
apparitions, illusions
flowing refractions

by adding my quills
I will wound
pricking with lethal absence
living detachment

defies all reason
yes I care
but won’t share
reason, nature can’t undo
an inert hedgehog.
** *

Written for dVerse MTB: Phantom Form — Shadorma, hosted by Gospel Isosceles. Poets have contributed to this prompt here.

*EDITED: to fix the erroneous syllable count. It’s kinda cool what two extra syllables per stanza can do to add a wee bit of spice.

14 thoughts on “Quills

  1. Good to see you at dVerse, Barry. Your poem stung as I thought of a parent who did not/would not show up to complete the duties of child-rearing, the duties of love, really. “pricking with lethal absence” is a most powerful line and with sharp perspicacity allows the reader to feel the pain of absence. Thank you for contributing this Shadorma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Would not, could not, and in some cases, should not. It’s interesting to me how some damage inherited by children can be payed forward to the next generation once they become parents… often in ways we never expect, as in when our “love languages” become informed by what was missing from our own upbringings.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


      • lol. It’s funny you mention that. A silly nickname given to me by friends in a hip-hop chatroom a long time ago was “El Matador De Metaphor”.

        Guess I’m never escaping that one. It’s cool though. I kinda dig it.


    • I agree… we must all endure the fear of hurting and of being hurt by our need for connection… some more than others, I suppose.


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