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the ritual

by Katie Dean

my brother and
I racing
the heavy door of our
lopsided farmhouse our
dog running between us

the door bounces
closer im
squealing im
gonna win victory
is mine then
Misty dashes in front of me and
trips me on her left paw.

Jon and Misty bounding onto the porch
circling and
jumping their victory dance

this game is rigged.

i kneel gasping for air. i will pray to any god that believes in fairness.
then a heavy bellow sob leaks out because
i know she loves Jon more than me.

across the street, a woman is
sitting on a piano bench in her
entryroom knitting a pair of wool mittens
for her grandson who

years later i'm standing over
my mom's bed spooning
her mashed bananas from a
ceramic bowl

but for now
this woman in her terry cloth
bathroom smelling of talcum powder and woodsmoke
is pulling splinters from
my fingers
with shiny tweezers.

for now this is our ritual.
my mom props me up on the edge
of the bathtub
by the west window
the sunlight is thick and piercing
and pulls out jagged pebbles
from my knees and palms

she organizes them on the windowsill
to form my name.


Posted on 11/08/2008
Copyright © 2023 Katie Dean

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Richard Vince on 11/08/08 at 03:22 PM

wow. very powerful. so much so that "she organizes them on the windowsill / to form my name" made my heart twinge. beautiful.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/08/08 at 05:23 PM

I also enjoyed the play with time - this has a genuine aura about it that reads so well.

Posted by Sandy M. Humphrey on 11/11/08 at 08:25 PM

This play with time and words, the characters and style you use verse to verse, unique, captivating, amazing storytelling ability. I have read three poems today and I loved them all but this is my favorite. smh.

Posted by Indigo Tempesta on 03/12/09 at 01:42 AM

i like a lot about this but what i love is the scope. i feel you don't often find poems capable of spanning time gracefully and also compellingly, in a way that makes you actually care. this is, and does. and thank you indeed.

Posted by Jo Halliday on 08/06/09 at 05:03 AM

It's a rare occasion that a Pathetic POTD deserves to be one. I read this a couple of months back, and I don't think I was up to the searing quality of this. The language used is soft, the style is unconventional, and the content honest: a rare combination. I did wonder though that using this much of fancy style, how much does it detract the readers from getting to the heart of it? But then should a poet wonder about all kinds of readers or not? That always remains an unanswerablish question to me.

Posted by George Hoerner on 08/06/09 at 01:35 PM

WOW, this is one of the great POTD poems. It certainly deserves the posiion and I bet Faulkner is grinning ear to ear!

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 08/06/09 at 06:21 PM

Nice, nice writing....enjoyed the read, oh, and congrats on potd. Thanks.

Posted by Richard Vince on 08/06/09 at 07:19 PM

at last! this should have been POTD long ago.

Posted by Timothy Wilson on 07/16/11 at 04:59 AM

You are better than most were in times when people actually read and wrote things. Like when writing was a basic skill like back in the Stone Age, and literature was a reality. I love the wording and structure. Also the style sound and pure creativity and rendering of observation . 58 out of a possible 10. Nice work here, Katie. Your poems blow brain matter out of my nose in the best way that could possibly be taken. Keep writing and applying that pure raw creativity and talent of yours. :) Always a pleasure to read your poems.

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