Yesterbed (NaPoWriMo 2020, day 28)

Today’s challenge: Write a poem about a bedroom.


The boy swims up from slumber and is awake. In this huge strange bedroom of his rich aunt, beneath a densely-woven top sheet and a quilt kaleidoscopably checkerboarded, with a few

Disattaching squares flapped open, there is extra heat across the boy’s legs

And he sees it is brought by bright sunshine, its bedfoot dazzle aswarm

With dust motes, and the boy in a flash realizes that he has been breathing this fine dust, and it is either this

Or the engulfing eiderdown pillow that gives him his one-nostril allergic shutdown. His nose will clear up if he gets up and walks around some. The old bed

Is with its high frame and thicker mattress and springs a sort

Of parachute-jumping-place for the boy, for his stubby boylegs dangle well above the floor, so that when he pushes off

He lands with a jolt. His feet feel the tight tiny curlicues of the weave of the Persian rug. His bare feet rather enjoy the breaking-through-mudcrust sensation

As he walks to the bookshelf. Aunt had told him “Some of your father’s books are here.” CAPTAIN OF THE ELEVEN

Must be one of them. It is probably about football rather than war. But there is DAVE DAWSON AT DUNKIRK as well so who knows. A quick peek confirms

Football. Wow, what thick pages! What weird, laughy dialogue! He puts the book back

And pulls out a pink one: THE PRIMROSE PATH by Ogden Nash. Nash was the “Candy is dandy,

But liquor is quicker” guy. The page he opens it to has a caricature of Adolf Hitler on it, who must have still been alive, because underneath the four lines are “Some day some talented belittler/Will pen a Valentine to Hitler./That gory bigot pedagogical,/Adolf, the Primrose Pathological.” The boy, twelve but fairly bright, sees that this IS that Valentine, or anyway an instrument of belittlement,

And context clues hint that a “pedagogical” person must be a dictator, and a “Primrose Path” must be a bad choice someone is lulled into taking. He checks the copyright date–1935–before he puts the book back. So the Holocaust had already begun…

The boy notices that the bedframe is carved wood, and that in addition to the elaborate, bird-crowded carving at the headboard, the very legs and feet of the bed

Are intricately carved as well. The feet have feline pawish claws. The bedposts–so that’s what a bedpost looks like!–have a swirl to them a bit like the torch

Of the Statue of Liberty. As the boy heads out the door to the preparing-breakfast rattle of the kitchen downstairs, he finds a ditty he never knew he had in his head, asking

If the bubblegum had lost its flavor/On the bedpost/Overnight.

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