Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RASH (04/12/18)
TITLE: Following The Siren
By Nancy Bucca
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While picking up ripped papers that had tumbled to the floor,
Jane made a choice. “That siren will not tempt me anymore!”
From childhood it had screeched at her that she must not delay,
But always leap before she looked so she could get her way.
It cheered when she saw candy that she knew she shouldn’t eat
But snatched some pieces anyway and gobbled up the treat.
“And why don’t you skip grace for once to feed your appetite?”
The siren urged at dinnertime. And so, she took a bite
Before the prayer was finished, though she knew that it was wrong.
The evil voice applauded her. “How confident and strong!”
It prompted her to barge right in on parties uninvited,
And throw a wicked tantrum every time that she felt slighted.
The only way she knew to stop its rantings in her head
Was to heed its every whim and follow every word it said.
Yet, like the crumpled papers she had just scooped off the floor,
It left Jane feeling torn inside, for she could not ignore
The fact that its approach to life, so blatant and direct,
Had led to consequences that she never did expect.
Her sisters, for example, came to view her as a pest,
Because she acted randomly and did as she thought best.
Part II. Desolation
She used their make-up, hid their shoes, and read their diaries,
Which caused them all to scold her and demand apologies.
One day her English teacher caught her cheating on a test.
Jane tried to make excuses, but her parents weren’t impressed.
They punished Jane with silence and confined her to her room,
With upraised fists and angry threats that seemed to seal her doom.
She couldn’t please her mom or dad no matter how she tried,
And they had no idea how their daughter hurt inside.
For, though her peers admired Jane’s aggressive attitude,
A few considered her a snob. Still others called her rude.
She felt their disapproval as the siren raged inside,
Provoking her to raise up walls to hide her injured pride.
Jane lied without a second thought to shoo away the guilt
That threatened to demolish all the barriers she built
To shield herself from criticism, blame and condemnation.
But now, as she aligned her scraps, she glimpsed a revelation
That nothing she had chased – cool guys, hot cars, or fancy clothes,
illicit fame and gambling games (she’d had her fill of those)
Could mend the broken pieces of a well that had run dry,
Or help her flee the nagging voice that made her want to die.
Part III. Desperation
Oh, how that siren needled her to take bold risks for fun!
Then she got busted and it shouted, “Pack your bags and run!”
For years she did just that, but never counted up the cost,
And now all she could think about was everything she’d lost.
For when he served the notice on that chilly autumn day,
She figured it meant trouble, like a bill she didn't pay.
Who sent it, though - some hotshot lawyer working for her dad?
A dealer that she stole from or a boyfriend who’d gone mad?
A person she’d “unfriended” or insulted on the phone?
Or the social media stalker who would not leave her alone?
“That mailman looks suspicious and I do not trust his smile,”
The siren roared. “His teeth remind me of a crocodile.”
Alarmed, Jane snatched the letter, without daring to blink twice,
And shredded it to bits because the siren’s sick advice
Had such a potent grip on her. She wanted to be free,
But could not fix her mess and cried, “Dear Jesus, please help me!”
With that, she looked more closely at the note she’d pulled apart,
And saw the invitation. Gentle heatwaves warmed her heart,
Because it stated, “Anybody who believes can come,
Especially the one who thinks she’s too much of a bum.”
Acceptance overwhelmed poor Jane, who now felt loved at last.
As for the blaring siren, though, its voice was fading fast.
Its screams had quickly lost their power to torture and destroy,
Extinguished by a downpour of extraordinary joy.
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