NaPoWriMo Day 4 (Day 9 for Everyone Else)

Inspired by Maureen Thorson’s Day 9 prompt: “Noir” (but with a sort of non-urban twist) and by Doug’s flashback to clip-on earrings.



The next one waits, polishing its incisors.
What willing thing would venture near, barefoot?
Some days, it doesn’t know itself
whether it preys or punishes. Or both.

Meanwhile, another clips earrings to her lobes.
She uses the pain to remind herself
of her worthiness. Please watch,
her ministrations seem to say.

Lifted to the level of her smile, each pearl ignites.
She draws the fur onto her shoulders
and against her neck. Outside, the moon
shows paw prints circling in the snow.

10 comments on “NaPoWriMo Day 4 (Day 9 for Everyone Else)

  1. deelaytful says:

    Hmm. Am I correct this is both a poem and riddle? haha. Can’t not guess what this is.

    • And what *is* your guess, Deelaytful? I have to admit I didn’t intend this as a riddle, but it definitely is enigmatic to me. I just began with the earring and with the image of … something… polishing its teeth. Who/what these creatures/people are, I’m still not sure. Your guess is as good as mine!

  2. I like the parallel images of the fur and pearls and wolves and moon. Also, I think your second line is particularly strong. Winter Noir, indeed — sort of creepy, yet beautiful.

  3. oooh, I do love this, for many reasons. For one, it makes me think about the old age question of who is the worst predator. So much here that links tightly together, densely in this little three-stanza package.

    • Thank you, David–predation remains a big question mark in my cosmology. Why the food chain? Why is nutrition violent? What does the hunt mean for humans, who are supposedly “advanced”? I think all these questions are muddling around together underneath this poem–even though I didn’t intend the poem to raise them!

  4. Missy says:

    Love this! I can’t help but have a feminist take on it, reading it as a woman who chooses to perform femininity; it hurts her, it signals that her appearance is intended for consumption, but it also gives her some small amount of power. She’s both predator and prey. Cool stuff!

    • Thank you, Missy! Yes, the “performance of gender” idea interests me a lot. I’m intrigued by your identifying *her* as “both predator and prey”–that doubling hadn’t occurred to me.

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