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,
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
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
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
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