To define the self is an endless and ever-changing proposition. We have many faces, many moods, a million stories that cast us in a thousand different lights. And yet, we try. The search (and discovery) is mostly for our own sake, but what good are we if the world can not see us? This week, we feature a stunning poem, in which the author, Ryann, defines herself in ways that conflict, subvert, and dance. She gives us her light, her speed, but also the sides of herself so many of us try to hide. Congratulations, Ryann, on a tremendous poetic achievement. (We’re even told this poem was used in a college classroom to help slightly older writers better understand the power of imagery and the ability of metaphor to leave us speechless, to send our minds reeling.)
Ryann Finell is a taco.
Ryann Finell is a fly on an apple core.
She is a smudge on a wall.
Maybe she is a witch.
She is a whale’s song, speeding through
the water at a million miles per hour.
Ryann Finell is an empty, crunched soda can.
She is toilet paper in the toilet.
She is a praying mantis, waiting for her next victim.
The floors look up to her, grinning.
Ryann Finell is a mushroom who
grows as slow as a snail.
She is nothing, a blank on a paper,
a gap of space, waiting right behind you.
She is a golden star on a Christmas tree.
Ryann Finell is a knob on a door,
waiting in vain for the dead owner
to turn her. She is a hole in a shirt,
getting bigger every day.
She is the letter X, doing a cartwheel.
Ryann Finell is a crab, scuttling
on the ocean floor, waiting for
a mine to blow up. She is a noodle
in a bowl of Progresso soup. She is
a sound, trying to race against her friend, Light.
Ryann, sixth-grade, Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp