Day 28: Figment

Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash


The shining city
on the horizon is not
actually there.

It is much lower,
and cannot be seen from here
with the naked eye.

What’s visible is
a mirage; a refraction;
trickery of light.

Theoretically, it exists,
though where you think it is,
there is nothing tangible.

In the beginning,
I had nothing,
but it was all mine.

No room to call my own,
but I owned every room
in momma’s universe.

The space we called home
coalesced from a hazy shade of blue,
brightening at the boundaries,
basement half-windows facing south,
allowing indirect light.

In the mornings and afternoons,
the TV was mine to visit Sesame Street,
Mr. Rogers, Mickey’s Club,
until evening, when dad returned
from some place called work.

We played until it was time to be silent;
I asked questions until the answers dried-up;
I cowered from the silent shadows
until the birds sang-in the blue again.

Sometimes momma kissed dad goodbye;
sometimes the silence between them
needed the icy space of January air
to thaw again; but either way,

the space was mine again
to build, to ponder,
to question.

In the beginning I had nothing,
but it gleamed along the margins,
and it was everything to me.

NaPoWriMo Day 28: Today’s Prompt:

Today’s (optional) prompt is brought to us by the Emily Dickinson Museum. First, read this brief reminiscence of Emily Dickinson, written by her niece. And now, here is the prompt that the museum suggests:

Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s description of her aunt’s cozy room, scented with hyacinths and a crackling stove, warmly recalls the setting decades later. Describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem. It could be your childhood room, your grandmother’s room, a college dormitory or another significant space from your life.

I went back to my earliest memory, when I was 3-4yrs old, and possessed neither a room of my own, nor the very concept of a room of my own. I did have tons of questions though, just as I do now.

Edited: Shared with dVerse OLN.

14 thoughts on “Day 28: Figment

  1. Your words are beautiful and deep and moving Barry.
    These words:
    “No room to call my own,
    but I owned every room
    in momma’s universe.”
    are especially moving.
    Please consider entering this wonderful poem in dVerse OLN – your words deserve to be shared.
    Stay safe.
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve been pulling back from prompts with the exception of NaPoWriMo due to work (and recently work-from-home demands) putting my work/life balance out of wack, but since you suggested it, I’m thinking of making an exception.

      Thanks again. 🙂


  2. “When dad returned, from some place called work” wow those were my exact thoughts when I was a child, my heart leapt when I read that line. I’m sure this poem’ll resonate with everyone who reads it and in its own way. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the blast of the O’Jays, Barry, I haven’t heard that for ages! I also enjoyed your poem exploring the magical tricks the mind can play on us, and the shift to the realities of life. I love the way you convey the close relationship in:
    ‘No room to call my own,
    but I owned every room
    in momma’s universe’
    and the description of your childhood, both light and dark. It’s amazing how perceptive children are about their parents, and the way we hang on to that gleaming along the margins.


  4. “In the beginning I had nothing, but it gleamed along the margins” … Love that. This is an exquisite poem, Barry. I identified with so much, except my childhood preceded TV!


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