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Lilli Sutton May 9
Redbud trees bleeding at the side of the road.
Must be almost May – the air is humid
and insects rise up out of the grass.
My steps move like a giant.
Every word I speak is the newest sound
in the universe, for a moment.
Or it’s too much pressure – I want to fold up
and be silent for a while. Say my solemn goodbyes
to the last two years and let go.
Maybe I’ll hibernate in the summertime
and come out in the cold. Or I’ll be like a firefly –
lighting up in the battlefields in June,  
synchronize my glow in the Smokey Mountains.
Comfort in the sameness – we all are just blinking,
a figment in the pages. When I write, the only thing
I want to say is: I was here. I was alive. I was happy.
Lilli Sutton May 9
Maybe I wrote too much about it
and that’s why I can’t ever forget now.
I looked back at old pictures yesterday
and noticed that she squints her eyes in pictures
the same way I do. Like we both want
to shut out the world when we smile,
close our eyes to seal in that happiness of a moment.

I believe that some of our parts
were probably made of the same substance,
or at least at the same time.

Sometimes I feel like a seagull
in a shopping center parking lot –
so far from the place I was made to inhabit.
They gather in droves and shriek
and it sounds so loud
without the ocean waves to drown their voices.
Maybe I’m just too noisy for West Virginia
and one day I’ll be somewhere that makes sense –
where I’m the right volume, like starlings
in Europe, like kudzu in Japan.
Lilli Sutton May 9
Yesterday was so good
that I forgot to write.
Even with the heavy gray clouds,
the threat of tornadoes,
and the skies that had already opened
when I left oceanography,
so I got soaked on the walk
back to my car. It’s spring again
and that’s all that really matters.
I talked to Carter on the phone
in the morning, about robots
in grocery stores and how
this is probably the beginning
of a slow replacement and one day,
we’ll have no use for humans anymore.
Maybe that just means we’ll finally
be able to do the things we want again.
I want to lay in the grass
like we did last Tuesday, in between
obligations, just to feel the sun.
Even on the cloudy days (and that’s all
there ever seems to be now) –
I don’t ever want to be alone,
and I don’t want to be anything but warm.
I still can’t sleep during thunderstorms –
I have to stay up with the light on,
until the lightning is over. But I don’t mind
having my bed beside the window –
sometimes the wind comes in, or the rain,
and I let it.
Eryri Apr 30
Mary McCray Apr 30
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 30, 2019)

Fingers to the brain
400 WPM
Prompt: write a minimalist poem.
Mary McCray Apr 30
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 29, 2019)

At the end, you always remember the beginning,
sleepless sweating and the dread of the new.
It was going into battle through the glass doors,
the receptionist on the front lines, the rounds of names.
There was always the fear of missing something lifesaving,
the cliffs of inevitable failures ahead of you,
the roster of duties and missions you would not be suited for,
the impenetrable maps, the bank of phones with fifty lights,
the script of survival at the skirmish, the awkwardness
in the dying role.

Figuring out your generals and where they stood
from their hilltop proclamations, this little trooper
finally learned the war machine, way too late
to take on the mission with any patriotism,
way too late to be anything more than a soldier
serving out the term. My badge of honor
became what I could not do, my efficient honesties
and the raw willingness to fail.

Maybe this is a mark of a mature conscript,
the luxury of modesty, the last days
of having nothing left to prove.
Prompt: start with a declarative statement and write a powerful emotion reflected in tranquility.
Mary McCray Apr 28
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 28, 2019)

My first job was data entry, with all those awful numbers.
The next ones were flush with time and words were incalculable,
floating out of copiers and stenographers. I hand-wrote them then

in-between walking memos to real, plastic inboxes.
Microsoft changed everything with their windows
in which I could type out my poems. After all,
writing poems looks awfully similar to working.
And instead of office supplies, I began to steal time.

I snuck words in through open windows,
met them in small storage rooms, had conferences
with them at lunch. I sat in ergonomic chairs
while they reclined on the yellow, lined paper.

Sometimes I had to cajole them.
Sometimes they were team players.
Sometimes they were only wanting to gossip.
Sometimes they came out of the mouths of people
standing unawares in front of my desk. Sometimes
they didn’t show up to work, but I couldn’t fire them.

They liked to be fussed over, rearranged.
They wanted to be knit and spaced.
All they wanted was my attention.
And they must have known I would never give them up
for all the money. Because at the end of the day,
when they took their leave, it always sounded good.
Prompt: write a meta, ars poetica poem.
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