Poetry Per Diem

A poem a day. Maybe some of them will be good.

Robyn Martins

Robyn Martins
June 21
I am a freelance writer embedded in Small Town, Ohio. I have decided to write a poem every day as a discipline, and like a good potter, I intend to set aside a few as keepers. While I do the sorting and pruning, I'll post them all here.


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DECEMBER 18, 2014 7:45AM

We Swallowed the Harvests

How many months do these corks represent?

More than a year’s worth of filled glasses,

Malbecs decanted,

Chardonnays in amber lamp light,

Rieslings on the back porch

when the sun was slow to slip away,

corks tossed in the glossed wood bowl

when the last sip was poured,

a trash heap… Read full post »

DECEMBER 17, 2014 8:44AM

What Progress We've Made

What progress we’ve made

and how I manage my household

advanced in gadgets and resources,

driving fast to fetch the groceries

with music playing

as I push buttons,

a small phone in my pocket

to help me do…everything.

The lamps are on and

the laundry is tumbling

and the roast isRead full post »

DECEMBER 16, 2014 8:43AM

Be Right There

Be right there

when your breath goes out

to fill the room

emptying you and inflating you

light as air.


Be right there

when the bells ring

while your breath goes out

and you narrow your field to

the scope of your/Read full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2014 8:44AM

I Enter With Favorites

I ride with a paperwhite

inhaling its perfume

to fill my lungs

sweet and heavy

and the wine beside it

is chilled and oaky

and I imagine drinking it

a sip sliding down

rich and cool.

With both gifts

I knock on/Read full post »

DECEMBER 14, 2014 8:05AM

An Unsettling Fidget Beneath the Ribs

This internal fluttering

unsettling fidget beneath the ribs

isn’t a sickness

unless it’s a sickness

to be excited

flighted by an engine

fueled with anticipation

ignited by the prospect

of eating the evening

one delectable bite

off the fork at a time

the salt and the sweet

following each oRead full post »

DECEMBER 13, 2014 9:04AM

All Better

The day has been so tiresome

so ploddish and sloggish

so gray an achromic spray

on the frosted ground

and bare-bones trees

the salted roads

and the barren houses

that this sunset seems ill-fitted

a festive hat atop a sackcloth robe

a flower in a mud-packed vase

blooming colors on glowingRead full post »

DECEMBER 12, 2014 7:46AM

Those Immutable Movements

Why watch a movie you’ve seen before,

you ask rhetorically because you

don’t want to hear my reasons

for sitting still again and again

rapt audience in flickering light

shining black and white

across my living room floor

opening credits the first taste

of a favorite meal

with each scene aRead full post »

DECEMBER 11, 2014 8:55AM

A Baton Worth Passing

My own cornbread is wrapped and ready

to be crumbled into dressing

the rustic food of my youth

I say proudly to my children

as if holding up a crest

of family honor,

the legacy from the women

of the provisional tree

who first mixed the bread

with soft celery andRead full post »

DECEMBER 10, 2014 8:43AM

The Smell Of A Fire

Of all the aromas that travel

from their origin

to our senses,

the receptors that turn smells

into memories and images

as clear as the very day,

the smell of a fire

a man burning leaves

and debris in his field,

that woodsy smoke trail

draws in my mind a pictureRead full post »

DECEMBER 9, 2014 8:26AM

The Best Time for Walking

We have discovered

the best time for walking—

in the morning 

when the ground is hard

before the sun

has had a chance

to soften it

and we tread steady

over the boots and paws

imprinted in the mud

the day-old fossils

now crusted and frosted

and it’s just us

andRead full post »

DECEMBER 8, 2014 8:20AM

This Pack Is Too Heavy

This pack has gotten too heavy

to carry around on aching shoulders,

this pack designed for one

but with all its pockets filled 

with someone else’s gear,

the other’s tackle strapped

on with clanging clips

banging on my hips

as I hike this hill,

so I’m offloading it for awhile,Read full post »

DECEMBER 7, 2014 8:56AM

A Golden-Light Grab

It wasn't the sort of thing

to build a relationship on,

sneaking into that construction site

and kissing in the hallway

where offices would be

and being chased away by a worker,

his yellow hardhat bobbing,

we gasping and laughing against

the stone wall blocks away.


It was never meantRead full post »

DECEMBER 6, 2014 8:10AM

At the Edge of the Canyon

Standing at the edge of the canyon

grand in scope and gravity

that threatens to pull me in

a fog so dense I go on faith

the depth is as deep as it was

when the sun shone on the bottom

the width spans such yawning distance

the same as theRead full post »

DECEMBER 5, 2014 8:21AM

They Lap the Sand and Recede

The magician has riled the children

and incited them to excited laughter

with his tricks and surprises.

Up close they sound like fireworks,

and my brow reacts with furrowed reflex,

dodging them with bunched shoulders,

but from a distance

their outbursts surge like waves

that lap the sand and recede,Read full post »

DECEMBER 4, 2014 8:30AM

By Dollar's Pond

I stood on the bank of Dollar’s pond

dug square and stocked for fishing,

my rubber-soled sneakers

planted in the tall grass,

and I called to Granddaddy

to hook another worm for me  

as the fish kept eating them

as if I were dropping in treats.

He grumbled with hisRead full post »

DECEMBER 3, 2014 7:51AM

The Dog's Eyes

The dog’s eyes are like nothing else

I look into, peer down into,

dive into fingertips first

without fear of the deep end,

those bottomless pools

of hope and expectation,

never worn weary

from past disappointment,

always accepting of what comes,

looking back and seeing—

I don’t knowRead full post »

DECEMBER 2, 2014 7:37AM

My Ready-Get-Set Boots

It’s not a matter of yanking on my boot straps

with my own weak upper body strength

to manage the necessary forward motion.

It’s more a matter of hoisting these boots

up over and around the obstacles in the way,

of kicking with the steel toes

the blocks and the stumble-overs,Read full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2014 8:18AM

Wayfaring Through My Pine-Like Arcadia

I was small enough of body

and big enough of mind

to lie on the carpet

and scoot toward the tree

until my head was beneath it

and look up at the branches

twisted wire twined with synthetic needles

and imagine myself climbing to the top

of the biggest redwood IRead full post »

NOVEMBER 30, 2014 8:27AM

Decorating the Tree In the Corner

Decorating the tree in the corner

selecting ornaments from the box

like jewels from a crested chest

this one from their childhood

and that one of glass and gold

this one a ringing china bell

and that one that calls for peace

the lion and the lamb together

and they eachRead full post »

NOVEMBER 29, 2014 8:35AM

An Irrational Fear

I’m not above confessing

to an irrational fear of napping

as a passenger in a road-trip car,

even with my eyes closing

against my stubborn will

and my head bobbing the

nod of a congregant,

as just as I begin to fall asleep

I see the face of a woman IRead full post »

NOVEMBER 28, 2014 9:11AM

Thankful for the Cold Cracked Door

I am thankful for the cold cracked door
In the kitchen full of people
The hottest room in the house
On a holiday when the family gathers
Warm bodies heating up around the buffet
Fueled by wine and limoncello
In the sipping glasses
Insulated by years of disposition padding
The oven roaring… Read full post »
NOVEMBER 27, 2014 8:37AM

It's Not Yet December

It's not yet December
And my hands are chapped
As they clap inside their gloves
For blood-flowing warmth.

I hold my steaming breath
Against the lung-seizing wind
Blowing like a battering ram
At the fortress door.

It's not yet December
And my toes curl for traction
With each unsure step … Read full post »
NOVEMBER 26, 2014 7:25AM

This World Is On Fire

This world is on fire

every latitude an equator of eruption

every longitude a measure of turmoil

war within borders spilling over

onto streets and onto porch swings

a peaceable kingdom turned turbulent

—or always was so—

and just lately I’ve retreated 

to my easeful quarters

aRead full post »

NOVEMBER 25, 2014 8:14AM

Ghostly Shapes of the Season

Our summer yard

furnished with wicker and cushions

with potted plants in the sun

and the hammock in the shade

where birds flapped froth in the fountain

and rabbits darted quick beneath bushes

when the dog had caught their scent

now draped in snow

like upholstery draped in white sheets

keepingRead full post »

NOVEMBER 24, 2014 8:18AM

The Quick Change of Seasons

It was unfortunate that the summer cushions 

were forgotten and pillowcased with snow

and the patio umbrella blew in the groaning wind

nearly bending its ribs with the flapping flag canvas

and the decorative blue bird perched beneath it

fell helpless onto his ceramic wing where he lay

paralyzedRead full post »