Poetry Challenge from Sarah J. Donovan:  Write a poem about something
that used to exist but you determine doesn’t anymore, as if in a dream. But
then awaken and discover that it really does still exist and encourage others
to take advantage of it. 


The wind swirled the broom handle
    of the raging fire
    sweeping our farm house into a pile of ashes.

My heart cries
    not for the library of rare and cherished books
    not for the framed recipes written by my ancestors
    not even for the family photograph albums.

My soul yearns
   for the back porch swing and the front porch rockers
   the first birthday gifts you ever gave me
true gifts of your self, your time, your love, your life
   the place where we traded the traffic counts of the city for
   the confused rooster, pattering rainfalls,
   chirping redbirds, chipping woodpeckers,
   languid Loblollies, whispering windchimes,
   neighborless peaceful tranquility
   of the country

where we held hands and
    shared a cup of coffee and a Klondike Bar
    prayed fervently to begin the day
    talked long into the summer nights of crickets and fireflies
    cried over the troubles of our children and
    laughed at their silliness
    thanked God for their successes
    tousled the morning bedheads of our grandchildren
    hushed their sobs of bruises
    Band-Aided their bumps and bangs
    Illegally Cuban-cigar tobaccoed their hornet stings
    Breathed the dust settling from the tractor-mown pasture
    relaxed our heads against each other with lapfuls of lazy dogs
    said goodbye to Archie the night before the cancer won
    read scriptures to comfort and reassure us
    decided on important matters and made choices together
where we rocked through rough and swung through sweet
    swing and rocker glue strengthening and solidifying
    connecting and holding

Even if the fire of a nightmare reduced to rubble the rockers and
    scorched the swing to nothing but charred cinders of chain and cushion
A phoenix would rise from a single burning ember
    Porch swings and rockers kindle fireproof vaults

-Kim Johnson

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