Poems Can Also Be Short!

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Gardening, Poetic Form, Publication News, Writing, Writing Contests

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

My husband and I are avid gardeners. Every year, our community garden plot near the Woodlawn Elementary School is 400 square feet of asparagus, beets, carrots, delicata squash, leeks, peas, peppers, pole beans, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, green and yellow wax bush beans, and some years even zucchini. Often we grow heirloom varieties; one year, we actually planted a variety called the Lazy Housewife Pole Bean. I borrowed a photo of the bean in flower from Grand Prismatic Seed where they describe the origins of this variety this way: “Lazy Housewife Pole Bean was introduced to the market by W. Atlee Burpee Co. in the 1880s. Its churlish name comes from the idea that a string-less bean is so easy to process that a lazy housewife can manage cooking them up.” Ha! The bean is currently out of stock…

One summer I wrote a twelve-line syllabics poem with the title “#EmilyDickinsonSaveMeNow” using the hashtag convention popularized on the social media site, Twitter. That poem is about seeking invisibility, about not wanting to see or be seen, and the luxury and privilege that are bound up with all of that. As a nod to Ms. Dickinson, I even tucked in a few of her ubiquitous, singular dashes as well.

“#EmilyDickinsonSaveMeNow” won third place in the Members Only category of the Oregon Poetry Association Contest in Fall 2016. Members Only poetry submissions must be no more than twenty lines. It was later published in their print anthology, Verseweavers,


I am the lazy
housewife bean. I don’t
want to see or be
seen. See me stalked, in-
tending to be left
to desiccate. Yet
soon — to shake and peel
my heirloom skin. Dis-
playing in that split —
I am mere lazy
housewife bean, age spots
of privilege, flecked.

Nancy Flynn
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