Friday, May 22, 2009


A whispered word, a muffled promise, indistinguishable over the bellow of the hearts. The sound isn’t that of affection or the beat of recognition, for we are strangers. We were brought together in the frost of the morning to join as one before the eyes of God. A conspired union not of our choosing, an arrangement made.

Now here we stand, in a room where we will become less like strangers, our hidden identities begin to be revealed. I draw closer to you, hoping to know the man underneath. A storm of emotions crash through me; scared, hopeful, timid, excited. My adrenaline rushes, like the gymnast on a pommel horse, striving for the perfect outcome. At this moment, blazing through all the emotions and adrenaline, is a red hot desire to know you intimately.

But what of the future? Will you fulfill those muffled promises of happily ever after, or will we find ourselves dreaming of boxcars, hopping trains that take us far away from each other? Am I or can I be what you expect in me? Are you or will you become what I hope for in you? Do those who brought us together have the wisdom to have made a perfect match?

Can we become strangers no more?


Tony Lamb said...

Samantha, I really like the way you give this piece a feeling of alienation. I also like the way this ends with a series of questions, like many relationships do. The last line could be taken a little ambiguously and I would like to see you toy with the idea that being strangers would be better than knowing each other. Think about the ways in which we must hide some things about ourselves to be accepted. The notion of "a conspired arrangement made" is full of implications I find intriguing.

sallylynn said...

Samantha ~

You have created a really interesting series of stanzas here; these three stanzas (or paragraphs, as they seem to be in prose rather than broken into lines) suspend a single moment in time. The poem reads like holding your breath, in a way -- as the first reflects on the immediate moment with images of breath and sound, and also contemplates how the speaker and the "you" got here. The second stanza still holds the speaker apart from the "you," though we get closer to the present. And the third is an interesting turn toward doubt, questions, uncertainty -- suspending the moment even further, and with no resolution. The pacing you're developing here and the suspense is terrific.

I'd love to see you work more with images and metaphors to perhaps further intensify this moment -- the "bellow of hearts" is great and loud, the gymnast's adrenalin is really interesting, and the "dreaming of boxcars, hopping trains" is fabulously concrete and makes the hope and doubt collide. Keep working with these concrete images to bring a reader even further into the poem. And think about line breaks, too -- how you might play with the length of lines and where they break to vary the effects of the poem.

Great job, Samantha!