I’m taking a Beginner’s Poetry class this semester with the delightful Prof. Hoppe. Want to read my favorite assignment I’ve turned in so far?

Roo is a Ghost

for Andrew Runciman (1986-2011)

If I opened my front door to a brown paper package
that once unwrapped, revealed a time machine
I would go back to that time we hung a hammock in the trees
and all the forty tries it took to hold us both

And then I would sneak in to the broom closet
of our first apartment where I would watch us pick up our bicycles
and head down the stairs toward adventure
our stomachs filled with your dripping tofu burritos

I would watch us on the first night I met you,
stumbling drunk through the streets of Small Town
holding hands because we were cold and I already loved you
and I would smile as we disappeared in to your house for the night

I would watch myself dance in the kitchen
swirling and singing as I made your birthday cake
carefully placing one, two, twenty four candles
I would choke back tears watching you blow out your last wish

And I would know that all these years,
all of the ghosts in the corners
and the shadows and the bumps in the night
were me all along

With a knowledge that pure
and no more fear in my bones,
I would pedal my bike past you on that dark road
And throw myself in front of that car to save your life.

I feel so improved from the class already. Having to look at your poetry from an academic perspective makes you develop a better understanding of the poem you’re working on. Yesterday we talked about ways to “dig deeper,” and make our poems multi-dimensional, or layered. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in writing poetry. It’s a good place to develop the basics without which good poems cannot be written.