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Student Poetry Corner - Night in the Tall Grass

This poem is inspired by my visual childhood memories in my grandparents’ backyard. These memories serve as a time capsule, a time that’s special to me because of its innocence, warmth, the sanctity of youth and naivety to limited human existence. What’s odd is that these memories are mostly non-specific for me, they are purely visual “glimpses” or “flashes” that are vivid and remain stagnant if I recall living through that time. I want to say many of these memories come from when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I had a very curious imagination, and I vividly recall “believing hard enough” so that I was able to see my imagination come to life in the tall grass. I’d visualize sparkling fairies often. There’s a theme of loss in the poem riddled through narration of the past and a revisiting in the present. I mention my aunt who lost her strenuous battle to cancer only a few years after many of these precious times. A theme of learning to cope with that loss is there, too, with metaphors for connecting to animals, specifically fireflies and dragonflies, rekindling that childhood wonder and dually feeling more connected with lost loved ones. 

Night in The Tall Grass

by Samantha LaChiana (senior English major)

Blink twice and you’ll miss it all. Bat an eye and you’ll find that you cannot forget the tracing of scrawny fingers along fractured pines of deck. Pool of leaves beneath tall trees. Life buzzes and throbs through them. Alive. We are so alive. Hums of vibrant blues, the red-bellied atop, screeches of crickets, perhaps grasshoppers chirp, too, fairies rhythmically float in and out of slender stumps. In and out of my ears. Bewitched by risk, entranced by beauty. Harmonious ringing, the sound of being. Decrepit slender wood I held so dear—you’re still here. Pine splices detach reaching for my fingertips. Jabbing like the prick of a spindle, Princess Aurora. Crisp wind fluttering a treasured life. The sweetness of dragonflies flushed my face, brushed my arms. Brush my hair. Aunt Lisa wore her bonnet in a cruel, scorching August, to avoid wearing her wig. Feet kicking. Curved lips squealing elegance and equal alarm. “Scary dragonflies!” she squawked, just as great birds do hovering chlorine filters, plastic ladders. Warning signs: Don’t dive. Nightfall brought villages into a sleep-like trance. Pixie dust sprinkles from skies into eyes of adults, Mr. Sandman. Fireflies. Awake, like I. We danced. My fingertips grazed flattened backs, repairing water damaged wings, enclosing in my green and orange “catcher”Then let them go. I’d let us go, my heart knew: we had time. Acquainted with a small, tall child. The art of letting go speaks to me through the tall grass, at night, in the heat of August.

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