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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JULY 23, 2014 7:38AM

The Baby on the Floor

When we brought her home

from the hospital on day two

or three of her new life,

we set her on the floor

in her plastic carrier

padded with pastels,

knelt beside her as

she lay silent, sleeping,

and we said, “now what?”

All that planning

to bring her into

theRead full post »

JULY 22, 2014 7:45AM

Shortness of Breath

We walk and talk,

plan meals and eat them

with friends or alone with a book

and wine for company,

we work for our keep

and play for our joy,

and sometimes both at once

when we’re lucky,

we sleep and dream and wake

and walk and talk again,

but sometimesRead full post »

JULY 21, 2014 7:55AM

A Little Girl's Eden

Watching the little girl by the pool,

carrying her pail and old brush,

inflatables on her skinny arms

pink suit hugging her rounded body,

she’s in a world of her own creation,

hauling water and sloshing,

conversing with her invisible friend

she has named “Sweetie,”

and with the sweeRead full post »

JULY 20, 2014 8:08AM

The Purpose of Art

The purpose of art is washing

the dust of daily life off our souls,

said Picasso who

I’m not sure sat idle long enough

to collect much dust,

but I do,

sitting, at least, if not idle,

doing the things of daily life

that don’t always inspire clarity,

a sheen thatRead full post »

JULY 19, 2014 7:40AM

When Mrs. Graw Was Young

When Mrs. Graw was young,

a flapper in fast times when

everyone did what was forbidden 

by proclamation and by sermon,

she played the piano,

her nimble fingers touching keys

up and down the jazz scale 

to the delight of speakeasy clientele,

and she could rest easy knowing

she was PrettyRead full post »

JULY 18, 2014 7:53AM

Lunch with Doris

It’s humbling to meet an octogenarian with stories

to tell as you sit beside her on the sofa,

and as you listen you learn her stories are yours,

the ones you’ve been telling as if you were unique,

but here she is to put you in your place

because she beatRead full post »

I have carved out this space,

a sanctuary

where I can come to think

or read or write or just sit

and watch the dog sniff the grass

in the yard just east of the steps,

and the sounds of the wind in the trees

and the birds in the branches,Read full post »

JULY 16, 2014 7:34AM

With Empty Palms Holding Nothing

It’s a puzzlement to me

how people I’ve known to claim faith

and patriotism as their hallmarks,

who carry the banner of Jesus

when they talk of benevolence

for the lost needing landmarks,

now decry anything more than sympathy

for children dumped on our border

as refugees from destruction.Read full post »

JULY 15, 2014 8:14AM

Visiting the Bastille

I masked my embarrassment pretty well, I think,

when I dragged us out to the intersection where

the Bastille stood according to my map of

historical sites in Paris.

My head filled with the films I’d seen as a girl,

dreaming of daring escapes and musketeers

and main characters named Pierre,Read full post »

JULY 14, 2014 7:45AM

Friends By the Fire

Our outdoor chairs in a semi-circle,

we sat in front of the fire on the full-moon night

and swapped stories we may have told before,

but we all pretended to be surprised

by how each couple had met 

and when was their anniversary,

how we came to name our children

onRead full post »

The best thing about the golf channel is when

they show “Tin Cup” when they’ve got 

nothing else to do.


Like the subtle jokes embedded in children’s movies

so parents don’t gnaw off their own legs on

family movie night,


like an unexpected cloud on a blRead full post »

JULY 12, 2014 8:30AM

Back-yard Battle is Brewing

There is a territorial dispute going on with

the chipmunks declaring control of the mulch

one foot east of the birch trees;

and the skirmish between them and the doves,

young ones, looks like, who haven’t learned 

the ropes of back-yard diplomacy,

is kicking up dust and chirping from all sRead full post »

JULY 11, 2014 8:05AM

Spying on the Mulch Beds

The best thing about being ignorant of growing things

is when what looks like wild grass sprouts flowers,

and I discover them as buds in the wispy blades,

small prizes to watch open as the season unfolds.


This one is just a fern, I can say one day in oblivion,Read full post »

JULY 10, 2014 7:39AM

Living on A Hill

The advantage of living on

the downward slope of a hill is

watching boys on skateboards

roll effortlessly to the bottom,

slender arms dropped at their sides,

nimble in their subtle movements

necessary to maneuver the curve,

feigning nonchalance with

their indifferent expressions,

when we all know theRead full post »

JULY 9, 2014 8:11AM

Finding the Perfect Word

Shopping in the dress department is like

searching for the one word that escapes me

just at the moment I’d like to say it,

and I privately rifle through the alphabet

in the filing cabinet of my brain

until I land on the right combination of letters

that swimmingly form theRead full post »

JULY 8, 2014 7:35AM

Different Monsters

As we rounded the bend on the trail

that draws a box around an open field

with weeds growing as tall as the average woman,

I am aware that if something bad were to happen,

it could easily happen right here,

and there would be no witnesses.

It was then thatRead full post »

JULY 7, 2014 8:35AM

A Symphonic Walk

A symphonic walk this morning

parts being played in layers

from above the cloud cover

down to a square foot of cement—

the unseen jet climbing to 30,000 feet,

propulsion not drowning out the

chimes ringing a faith song from the

Lutheran bell tower far off, or 

the mourning dove callingRead full post »

JULY 6, 2014 8:30AM

My Terrible Friend

Don’t take it personally, she said,

when she doesn’t want to have dinner

up here with me because 

she gets so tired after work,

even though she drives up here

for dinner anyway and stays for a movie

and then tells me all about it later

before remembering her excuse wasRead full post »

JULY 5, 2014 8:13AM

Where Swallows and Men Part Ways

Been watching the swallow nest

for weeks now, first

when it was just a mud patch

and then when it grew to hold

five hungry babies with

tufted feathers on their heads

and wings too weak to

take them places.

It seemed impossibly small

for such a large family,

which isRead full post »

JULY 4, 2014 8:32AM

The Country Wave

There is the man on 

Rural Route 1 whose farm 

is the sweetest portrait 

of pastural care.

He wakes early to milk 

the last of his cows,

to let the dogs out, 

and to feed the chickens,

each mooing and barking

and clucking at their own

as his rough hands

meetRead full post »

JULY 3, 2014 8:12AM

Night Storms

Lying awake in my bed,

shades drawn against the

jaundiced light of street lamps,

my twilight mind drifts

in and out of truth

as thunder rumbles

above my roof and

lightning pierces 

my dark shelter,

a flash of storm

shatters my wish

for sleeping.

I relish the turmoil 

that cannot reachRead full post »

I left you in your apartment today

sitting on the floor and looking up at me

like you did when you were six

or seven and needed from your mother.

You didn’t need this afternoon, so you said,

but it took all I had to believe that was true,

your cheeksRead full post »

JULY 1, 2014 7:58AM

Conjuring Christmas in July

Something about the high sun in July

that inspired us to close up the place,

to draw the curtains across

the big picture window,

to darken the house,

and to conjure Christmas.

Something about our impatience

for the comfort and kindness

the distant season spread

over us like a blanket

tuckedRead full post »

JUNE 30, 2014 8:06AM

A Seat At This Table

Knowing a soiree is going on, and 

I haven’t been invited, leaves

me outside looking in,

and the exclusion weighs on my head 

like a heavy hat I balance under

until the party’s over, and

I’m no longer left out.

But I’ve been given a seat at this table

with myRead full post »

JUNE 29, 2014 7:31AM

Recess with the High-Wired Boy

If I had been medicated for

attention deficit disorder in

an era when such a thing didn’t exist,

when I was eight or so and

hopped in my head

from idea to idea instead

of getting my work done in class,

Mrs. Gunderson, that

pinched-up woman in

the scratchy wool suitRead full post »