The next device from William Packard’s The Poet’s Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices:
Prose Poetry: Poetry having a high incidence of sight and sound and voice devices, but with no formal line arrangements; prose poems resemble loose paragraphs and are sometimes called vignettes.
So many, many, many poets do prose poetry well. I am not one of them. Still, this is what I signed on for, so we shall suffer together, dear readers.
I share a prose poem that has found its way in and out of a full length manuscript of mine over the last couple of years. Thanks for reading!
Flashing Before My Eyes
(Suzanne Baldwin Leitner)
If it is true that when we die, we relive our every moment on Earth – as penance or reward – I hope I am allowed props. I want a remote control with “pause” and “play” buttons (no “fast forward” or “rewind” – I’ve had enough of that already) and a tape measure. I want to hit “pause” when I’m in my childhood kitchen and measure just how small it actually was. Could I really walk from the table to the stove in two steps? Surely not. How many steps down the moss green-carpeted hallway to my bedroom door? Not many. When I find myself climbing in my grandmother’s tree – my favorite one with the smooth bark and lushly dressed limbs – I want to measure how far the drop really was from my lower branch to the sparse but soft grass below that always felt cold to my feet, no matter how hot the day. I will measure my second grade classroom, where I walked from the crafts table back to my seat, embarrassed that I didn’t know what “paste” was. It couldn’t have been the mile it felt like it was. I will measure the distance I walked both times I ran away from home. While everything is still, I will study the hands, the faces, the frowns and the smiles, the eyes especially, so that I might decide whether to look for them later after the show.