Poetry 24, 2014

Listen; audio only; *.mov file; 1 min. 53 sec.

Hand Over Saw

One day, during one of my MFA program residencies,
one of the professors got up on stage and told us
that we could do anything we wanted to.
We could write an epic; we could write the next
Great American Novel; and with persistence and dedication,
we could become the best writer we had ever known.

To prove this point, she said,
“When I was younger, after I’d had my first child,
I managed to get into my head the idea that I
could do anything I wanted to, if I tried hard enough.
So, I started taking karate.
I am now a black belt in karate

“and I am about to show you how to break
a board with your hand.” She stepped back, and two
other professors brought a board and laid it
out over two piles of bricks on stage. After some
hemming and hawwing, she moved forward and sunk
her hand down onto the board as quickly as she could.

It did not break.
She tried again;
it didn’t break then, either.
Unfortunately, she never got it to break that day,
and the only thing I learned was
sometimes, you just need a saw.

Prompt: Compose a poem out loud. Use a tape recorder, smartphone, or have someone write it down for you. NaPoWriMo

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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