Well. Poetry has never been my strong point, but miracles occur every day! Without further ado, here it is.

 

When First They Came

By M.G. Knight

 

When first they came

It was like a bothersome tickle in my belly,

Soft and warm and new.

An intrusion on my senses,

Unpleasant, unwelcome

In the quiet quintessence that had been my creation.

I groaned and shook,

Twisted the wind about me to howl.

I grumbled in my creaky voice

And soaked in the cold of the night.

But these beings,

Warm and soft and new,

Dressed me in cloths of gold

In embroidery spun of silk

Cool and soft as moonlight.

They filled my nose with the smell of cookies in a chill winter eve.

Christmases with pine needles and presents.

My ears learned to listen for

The click and clock and gentle knock

Of Her and Him.

 

The snowdrops turned to dew.

Winter grey turned to gold.

But with it came something else new.

With the soft pit-pat of paws

And the tickle of whiskers against my walls—

They called him stray,

But I called him Hell.

He tore my new array to the ground,

Bit and nibbled and chewed,

He filled my chamber with clouds of dust

And powdered pebbles with putrid musk.

And, yes, I howled my fury

Against his nimble intrusion.

I encouraged him to eat the green foliage

And climb my now tattered skirts.

I told him human food was magical

And that claws on skin wouldn’t hurt.

Yet I couldn’t deny

He loved the sun’s shimmers as much as I.

During his long summer snoozes,

His stripes would shiver with glee

As we counted the white puffs in blue floating free.

 

Soon, my neighbors shed their orange scarves,

Littering them at my feet.

They twiddled and twirled

And applauded themselves in their crinkly, scraping way.

Here again came the first crystal against my head

While inside Hell curiously batted

At the new creature who had arrived,

Wrapped and ribboned and raucous

In its small, snuggly bed.

 

Loud and shrill it could be,

Blasting the blissful silence of days before

To a permanent bygone.

I was determined to be rid of the Pest.

 

I blew and leaked and invited dormice to stay.

And the little thing contrived

To drool and shriek the nights away.

I closed my eyes and clenched my fists

So the windows and doors would stubbornly close.

Of course, all the while I loosed my rails and cracked my toes.

But it was to no avail.

My nose was filled with the

Essence of poop—

So macabre and fowl

Hell’s whiskers began to droop.

Oh, but the quiet

When quiet could be

Was careful and constructive

And needed for me.

In those moments of tranquil bliss

I could watch the fowl creature

All swaddled and bathed in its bed

And wonder if I’d miss Pest’s little face

If Him and Her and chosen silence instead.

 

Then came others,

Numbers Two and Three.

Quiet no longer existed

For Hell, Him, Her, or me.

They grew and they pooped

And painted my doors,

Threw up and spilled milk

All over my beautiful floors.

Cobwebs grew across my blouse

Like sand in crevices

Or ale in an alehouse.

 

Little hands smacked my floor

Then little knees,

Then little feet

And more.

 

I echoed with laughter

And the slippery feel of socks

Tickled my skin.

I was tattooed with Batmans and unicorns

And the occasional juice

From a glass that had been.

There were playdates and parties

(Even I got cake, too)

And sleepovers and guests

And many other a to-do.

The days passed on and Pest grew and grew

Until he became less of a boy

And more of a sparkling bijou.

 

Pest left that summer

For great things,

His tall frame nearly touching my ceiling

As he patted my walls goodbye.

And though I tried to creak in answer,

He could not hear me.

My wooden heart splintered

As that little Pest

Slipped from my embrace.

 

But Numbers Two and Three,

Oh, they were still a handful for me.

They stayed out late

And snuck through my doors

And though I rattled and squeaked and bumped

Nothing could wake Him and Her from their nightly slump.

Soon the marks measuring their little heads

Reached up high

And Numbers Two and Three also left

With nary a hug or goodbye.

 

Him and Her remained,

Loving and gentle,

As Hell slowed and slowed

And slowed

Until every hour was spent watching puffs of white sail by.

When Hell left, too,

There were no more stripes shivering with glee

Or paws and whiskers waiting to tickle me.

Him and Her grew smaller and smaller

As Pest, Number Two, and Number Three

Grew taller and taller.

When they came to visit,

No socks slid down my halls

And no cake was shared within my walls.

 

But my heart, oh, it still echoed with mirth and light,

The tinkles of laughter soaking into my wood

Like the rings of a tree.

 

The long years passed and Him and Her turned grey

They hunched and shuffled along my floors

While the leaves crinkled at my feet.

Until soon, He was gone,

Gone like warm stripes and whiskers

And slippery socks and shared cake,

And Her tears trickled upon my skin.

Once again, my wooden heart cracked.

 

When the first white crystal of that year fell upon my head

She didn’t wake,

Regardless of how I groaned or moaned or creaked my anguish.

My belly was silent,

And the tinkles of laughter and fun had long since evaporated

From my rings.

 

The silence echoed against my barren walls,

Louder than any scream.

There were no clicks and clocks and gentle knocks

Of Her and Him.

No mewls for milk

Or toys.

Or noise.

 

Silence.

 

Until one day I heard a yell

Loud, high-pitched, carefree—

And all-too familiar to me.

Pest walked through the door,

A small Pest in tow,

Swaddled and bathed and gurgling,

Healthy with that baby glow.

I felt my wooden heart constrict

As Him and Her clothed me in moonlight silk

And filled my nose with the smells of cookies and milk.

Claws click clacked against my skin

And little hands slapped my floor

Then little knees

Then little feet

And more.

 

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