‘A Proper Poem’ and other poems by Abigail Dufresne

Big Brother Is Watching.

I wanted to push off into the crashing,
Batter against bridges
Be swept away by currents
You preferred the shore
No sharks on shore
No undertows to rip away your red tide sister
I wasn’t allowed to kayak without you,
And you weren’t willing to hold all my fire
Even with all that water, my flames are still reckless
We were both cradled by waves,
Rocked by the sound of seagulls,
Ate our sandwiches out of plastic buckets
Last month I fumbled every fiery part of me into the open mouth of a kayak for the first time in years,
Held the paddle in both hands, still pretending like I know what I’m doing,
Each stroke splatters lake water onto my face, it gets into my mouth, I am smiling so big
You own a kayak of your own now,
Step into it with much more grace than the hot coals on my feet could ever manage,
There’s a hook for your fishing rod and quiet patience to sit in
We fished together once,
I spend the whole morning casting the line; my flame soaring with it,
Warning all the fish to stay away I suppose,
You cast the line once
And pull back a fish,
My fire burns all the more furiously,
Lighting up the dock just enough
For you to throw the fish back by my light.
You cut the spurs of your fish hooks,
They slide out more easily, you say.
Catch and release.
I take waves in the face just to see my flames tumble,
My throat stings from the salt that gets in while I smile,
I dig my toes in as a brace for the crash
I am scared to turn around
I don’t know what waves would hit if I’m not looking,
If I did turn, I know I would see you on shore,
With a flame just as steady and bright as before.

Meredith, New Hampshire

This town
Smells like
So many little grubby hands
Dripped with ice cream
I can almost see them now
Gearing up for summer
This town
Smells like
Books that haven’t been read yet
They sit on the shelves
Waiting for gentle hands
Dripped with ice cream
To peel them apart one by one
In the scalding sun
This town
Smells like
That might just be
Me though.
Maybe I should
Get some ice cream,
My hands aren’t quite sticky enough
For this place.
I’m the foreigner
With soft,
Clean hands,
I don’t quite fit,
The door handles all slip a bit
Under my tentative grip.



A Proper Poem

Today I wrote
A proper letter
On proper paper
With a proper pen.
I put it in
A proper package
With a proper book
To go along.
I drove to the
Proper post office
And obeyed every
Proper posting
Along the way.
I pulled into the
Proper post office
With a
Properly pleased smile
On my proud face.
I promptly got out of
My proper car,
Walked up to the
Proper post office
And it was
Positively closed.


I wonder if my lover
Makes art about me
If he turns to his creation
And says
This is for her,
Never to see, but it’s hers non-the less
I wonder if there’s
Art that I don’t know is mine.
This is for you,
It says,
You make me smile,
Even from so far away,
And maybe, just maybe,
Your smile is that soft and
Your voice is that kind and
It is not a trick
Of the distance.
This is for you,
Never to see, but it’s yours non-the less.

I held my anger
So tightly
So long
That my knuckles split
And dripped blood onto the carpet.
Today I opened my hands and found
I looked at you and felt
Maybe I’ve always felt
And it scared me,
I’m supposed to feel something,
We kissed and your tongue tasted like
I tried to flavor it with all the ways I’d seen
Movie couples kiss
But from beginning to end I felt
I tried to fill it with all the songs you played,
How can something that sounds so beautiful be
But you didn’t write the music
It belongs to someone else.
You threw a grenade into a pit of
There was so much room for
The explosion.
But no matter how big the bang
Silence will always follow.
And I am grateful for the
I reached into the nothing
And plucked out the songs I like.


Overheard At Church On Easter


We had
I saw
Crocuses today
And frogs
He is risen

A Proper Poem and other poems are © Abigail Dufresne

Abigail Dufresne is a twenty-one year old poet, actress, and costume designer from Rhode Island with training in acting, design, movement, and devised theatre from Shakespeare and Company, The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and The University of Rhode Island. At this point in her career Abigail finds herself drawn mostly to devised theatre and Shakespeare for the opportunities these provide to engage with both poetry and acting within the same medium. She looks forward to exploring how these disciplines can also live within other forms of art.

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