Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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Prose Poem
SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014


by Deborah Harding Allbritain

It’s so self indulgent poetry isn’t it, more so than any other art form? How unimportant, me a woman in her fifties, sitting here on a rainy November afternoon my little dog asleep on a pillow beside me while I try perfecting an image that you could never ever possibly compare to a measure of Chopin or a stroke of Monet’s thick yellow oils I mean isn’t poetry the lowest on the arts totem pole if we were being totally honest? Or is it just me not wanting to talk about my other dog—the one who died in my arms last summer from a massive seizure, seriously I’d have to sit here and weep to turn that hell into gorgeous language that you’d wish you’d written. Well I can’t do it even if I used that other night when my only daughter was taken away in an ambulance oh yes that would make a great poem but first I’d have to gut punch you super hard then buoy you up with hope in a way that was neither maudlin nor obtuse, OK I know it’s not a poem yet but still doesn’t it mean something, the way the sun just killed me right now slicing through that drenched fern on the grass then pulled back behind clouds? There’s Bach on Pandora, my water glass reflected on polished walnut and the dog left behind looking up at me with two steady eyes and then at the end of all this, that feeling you get when the sun comes all the way out after a big rain, how suddenly the weather can no longer be the metaphor for your loss.


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Deborah Harding Allbritain’s

poems have appeared in Autism Digest, Stand Up Poetry, The Unmade Bed, In the Palm of Your Hand, The Antioch Review, The New York Quarterly, and many other journals and anthologies. She works as a speech pathologist for the Poway Unified School District.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury