Shudder Poems

I.
I was strewn across your legs
fingers intently in my mouth
eyes intently on the pages
that you read with your consuming
voice. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe
Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear.
Your consuming hand enveloped
my tiny thigh and we both awaited
the story’s climax.

II.
Did you choose me because
I had light-filled faun eyes
or because I was exuberant
and danced barefoot on the stove
or because I was bright
and could recite the 23rd Psalm?
Or was it that I crawled barefoot
onto your lap, my bright faun eyes
dancing with exuberant tears
hungry for a father’s caress?

III.
Powder blue stationary scraps
of crumpled locker notes postcards
from Iowa construction
paper cards: my bedroom
carpeted with them. Littered
with dried tree pulp and blue
red black ink testament
to my haste in checking each seeing
it was that note you’d
sent me after your Fiji missions
trip. I ransacked something
else too tonight when I should
be asleep, tearing uncharacteristically
careless through scene after
scene trying to remember sure
I’d forgotten and could find the
first day I shuddered and
hid from your greeting or
maybe uncover, undo the
way I moved when your
fingers molded my
landscape. I never found it.

IV.
I stood in her room
tired after hours of cleaning it
inhaled the scent of scorched dust—
insulation in my old room. My old closet
in the corner. I’d
hide in it, buried in
forest green carpet and darkness
to cower, to pick my face,
to escape ghouls in my room.
His words would play back:
Beautiful. Special. Girl.
My heart would shudder like
his hands made my body shudder
with fear and something else.
But all the shudders I buried
under the forest scorched dust.
I breathed just now and found them.

About Dori Elliott

Dori is a first-year MATC student who might be from Oregon, Bolivia or Indiana depending on the day. She hopes to explore the intersections between theatre and healing in her future work. In between Moltmann readings, Dori can be found listening to Poem Talk podcasts, wrangling other people’s children and crafting licentious baked goods.

Dori Elliott

Dori is a first-year MATC student who might be from Oregon, Bolivia or Indiana depending on the day. She hopes to explore the intersections between theatre and healing in her future work. In between Moltmann readings, Dori can be found listening to Poem Talk podcasts, wrangling other people’s children and crafting licentious baked goods.

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