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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: Cardboard Cutout
By Rikki Akeo


I released my grip, allowing for the two inch fall onto the rigid tile floor. I took a ceremonious step backward and admired my new living quarters. I was going to make it. At twenty-three, living with my father was a humbling experience. Years of trying to make it on my own, yet all I had to show for my effort was this decrepit cardboard box filled with personal memorabilia.

I sprinted toward the couch for some overdue relaxation and melted into its cushions. Phew! What a long day.

My father kept his place immaculate, so I knew it was only a matter of time before he would cite the newest contribution in his living space.

"Sweetie, what's in the box?" He inquired as he took a seat beside me.

"Oh, that?" I responded in my coy voice.

It's everything that defines me; the very reason I am who I am.

"It's just a few belongings I've held onto throughout the years." I muttered.

…and that was that - for the time being.

I peered out my father's window one brisk afternoon and found that snow from the winter months had liquefied into the already quenched earth. Beams of radiance danced through the clouds and came to rest at a lone tree that stretched toward the springtime sky. The soil must be perfect for a garden…I mentally chewed. Growing a garden for my father somehow appealed to me, that was, until I was reminded of the houseplants I had failed time and time again. With my father's extraordinary appetite for fruit, I opted for the store bought produce rather than courting another disaster.

I was still poised at the windowsill when my father approached me with a steaming cup of tea.

"Beautiful, isn't it?"

"Definitely." I sighed, as I pulled my sleeve over my hand and wiped away the condensation that formed on the window.

"Have you decided to unpack your belongings yet?"

I glanced over at the box, still situated on the floor where I left it months before. I actually forgot it was there. Nonetheless, it was there.

I pressed the mug against my lips and drew in a sip. Justify yourself. Make sense…

"There's really nothing to unpack. Just a bunch of memories; tokens, you know, from the past."

More like a 'quarter' of a century of past resentments. Lack of forgiveness for others who might not give a 'dime' about you. Bitterness. Anger. Jealousy…They're tokens, alright. The mere thought caused such a stir within me that I shifted with palpable discomfort. Father was not oblivious.

"It has to come out, somehow."

"What do you mean?"

He called my attention outside…

"It's hard to keep a chip on your shoulder if you occasionally bow down." He spoke to my unforgiving spirit. "To prepare your garden, you have to bend down in order to pull the weeds that threaten it."

He scooped my hand up in his and placed it on my heart. "The soil must be perfect for a garden…"

I finally understood and although my father couldn't do it for me, he walked with me as I carried my box - one last time - to the foot of the Dogwood Tree.

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This article has been read 484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Mull 02/18/10

This one brought tears to my eyes. A very good expression of a drifting life. Good job of writing it down.
Mark Kinsman 02/19/10
You looked inside yourself with honesty. I enjoyed the poetic language and the images used. Poetry need not be (and seldom really is) "sing song ryhme". Poetry is a "word dance" that exposes realities that all feel but that only the artist can express. You did a nice jo here, as an artist, poet and writer. Thanks
Mark Kinsman 02/19/10
Nice job as you wrote using words that do ryhme
Some of what writers have on their mind
Just have some fun and go on with the flow
Where it will end well who cares and who knows

The challenges hint of emmotion and thought
Some write on through and others get caught
In a road block that's called often times writers block
Some just sit and struggle while the clock ticks tick tock

Phew!, that challenge is over
Its over and done
Hey its not about us
It about Christ Gods own Son!

Good job

Mark Kinsman 02/19/10
Sorry that last comment wasnt for you
Marie Fink02/20/10
Your writing flows well and paints interesting pictures. I was wondering about being 23 and having a quarter of a century of belongings in the box. I'm often dense and don't read between the lines very well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/10
I like your descriptions of what is in the box. How often we fail to realize how heavy resentment and anger is to carry around. Good job.
Beth LaBuff 02/24/10
Very good work on this well-written entry. I liked your use of "dogwood tree" at the end.