April 26, 2011

This week’s prompt for The Red Dress Club was: tell us about a time in your life when you endured something painful, but later realized it was a blessing.


I fell in love with your smile
But I’m living with your back:
A back that has turned on me
Like the backs of men before you,
Stiff with anger and the rush
To run through an open door.
It’s the only part of a man
I truly understand.

Did it begin with my father,
Who gave me the back of his mind,
The only nook left over
After the sports page and
A hard day’s work,
Who sent me back to my room
His only defense against a mouth
Grown too large for the girl?

I reveled in your iron back,
Mapped it out, staked my claim
Like some ardent Napoleon,
With fingers, palms, nails, teeth–
Sometimes cutting in hard and deep
Hoping your taste would linger
A little longer in my mouth.

I face your back as you bend
Over boxes of old sweatshirts,
Soccer trophies and books of Aristotle–
Admire the wandering tributaries
Of muscle and sinew
The curve and flex
Of the only part of you
Ever given generously.

Today I am throwing you back
To seek fresher waters.
I will miss you
But I will not miss your back–
The back puffed in victory
The back scrambling out the door
The back of your hand.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

ayala April 26, 2011 at 5:27 am

Wow, this is powerful and emotional.


Cheryl @ Mommypants April 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

Loved this. Amazing. Truly. Especially the last two graphs. And the line about a girl whose mouth had grown too big.



Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon April 26, 2011 at 7:07 am

This leaves me absolutely speechless.


Christine @ Coffees & Commutes April 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

My heart is racing a little. Just wow.


Miranda April 26, 2011 at 7:50 am

Wow. Just…really, really wow. Very awesome job.


Kim April 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

Beautiful, concise, clean, sharp. Great job.
Came from TRDC.


Ashley April 26, 2011 at 8:05 am

Seriously, WOW! This is such a powerful piece. Well done!


Jenna April 26, 2011 at 8:22 am

You’ve got this amazing power over words. Keep usin’ it.


rebecca @ altared spaces April 27, 2011 at 8:21 am

Words are powerful things in the hands of someone who knows how to use them. They are freedom. You bring freedom with these words.


bryan April 26, 2011 at 8:43 am




GEW April 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

Great poem, Kitch. You use equivocation on”back” to great effect. It both pleases my brain and moves my heart.


Amy April 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

This is so wonderfully sad and liberating. Great job.


Erica M April 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

I agree with Amy. Nicely done.


Jennifer April 26, 2011 at 9:44 am

You are just simply awesome. I love it.


absence of Alternatives April 26, 2011 at 10:15 am



Contemporary Troubadour April 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

wandering tributaries / Of muscle and sinew

I lingered there longest in word-love; lines like these take my breath and swell my heart. Pain and blessing in the flesh, indeed, Kitch.


Katybeth April 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

Poetry always impresses me since it always alludes me unless I can rhyme it badly.
“The back of his mind.” what a great visual for low level listening. Throwing you back to seek fresher waters–lots of liberation in those words!

Thanks for sharing!


TKW April 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm


You aren’t low-level anything.


Ash April 26, 2011 at 10:51 am

Holy cow, “the back of his mind.” Such a simple statement that speaks volumes.


Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points April 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

Absolutely elegant.

That is all.


BigLittleWolf April 26, 2011 at 11:12 am

Gorgeous and powerful. Wow.


Pauline April 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

I agree with everyone. The visuals you created are powerful. Great job.


Belinda April 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Loved this, Kitch. And not missing the back of a hand could be a slogan for stopping domestic violence.


TKW April 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm


How can young girls be so stupid? A slogan, indeed.


Barbara April 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Wow. That’s frightening.


Jennifer April 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Normally I have a hard time with poetry, and rarely comment on it, but this was so smooth, so easy to read, and even though I didn’t know exactly what was happening I felt like I did, I felt as if I could actually feel you.


Justine April 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Wow. Your talent knows no bounds.


le chef April 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Incredibly strong. I can see your own back; standing tall, determined, and walking with courage into the direction of your dreams. Good for you! More women could use a back as strong as yours.


anneliesz April 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Dana- lovely poem. The end is particularly powerful as litany.


TKW April 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm


Hi! Are you married yet? I miss you!


Alexandra April 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm


I think I now have come to understand you.

You don’t realize what a gifted writer you are.

That’s the only reason for how you let us come here for free.

Because I’d pay for you.

No lie.


TKW April 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm


What is this pay you speak of? But thank you. :)


Maria April 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Beautifully written, exquisitely worded imagery…A resounding piece, Kitch!


SuziCate April 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

WOW! Absolutely incredible! I think this is your best piece ever! You are truly gifted.


MissChi April 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Just recently discover your blog. All the ladies here described your poem perfect, powerful, strong, exquisite, and full of emotions. I’m in awe. Thanks for sharing.


Mama Track April 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm

This is so powerful. I love it. The rhythm is perfect. And it’s so honest.

Thank you for sharing something so personal.


Heather April 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Wow… So raw, so amazing – very well written. You are a talented being and I adore you for that.


Tamar April 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Wow. Simply wow. Beautifully written. And so powerful.


manisha April 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm

You are awesome.
Let’s do lunch soon! Hugs!


Nancy C April 27, 2011 at 3:25 am

This made my entire day, knowing that such incredible writing is out there. Oh, man this is good.

It’s the only part of a man
I truly understand.

Isn’t that the truth? How it’s so easy to put on that armor?

Also, that ardent Napoleon line made me so happy.

Thank you for writing such elegant words.


Abby April 27, 2011 at 4:45 am

The end.


Erin Margolin April 27, 2011 at 7:53 am

saw Nancy’s tweet about this and had to come over. SO glad I did. this is utterly amazing. i don’t really have any words. left me with a lot to think about. reminds me in a lot of ways of my father….tremendous job.


Kir April 27, 2011 at 7:55 am

that was simply beautiful, a rare and honest look into what you endured and what you would not suffer through anymore. WOW.


JennyMac April 27, 2011 at 8:02 am



Rocky Mountain Woman April 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm

honest. powerful.

love it…


Velva April 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

This is some of your best writing. You must be really feeling it. Awesome.



Linda @ Bar Mitzvahzilla April 27, 2011 at 6:14 pm

This is some great poetry, TKW! I am impressed! Believe me, I read a lot of poetry (ahem, editor at Poetica), and this is lovely. Also, did we date the same a-holes or what? :)


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri April 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I’m out of breath. This was perfect. How you told this story stays with you. Blew me away.


faemom April 30, 2011 at 12:35 am

Beautiful. Amazing. Great work.


Paula April 30, 2011 at 5:14 am

I will never think about backs the same way again.

I would pay for your writing also.


Jane April 30, 2011 at 8:34 am

Oh my! This poem hit me in such a visceral way. So very, very powerful. You are an amazing poet. Simply amazing.


Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac May 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Whoa. What just happened? That was really powerful.
I’m stuck on the “back of his mind” part…can totally relate.


Liz May 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Holy crap, Kitch. Not just powerful, but beautifully written. You are so amazingly versatile in your writing talent.
P.S. The style reminded me a lot of Jewel, the singer/songwriter/poet…my fave.


Kimberly May 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Brilliant. Your words captivate me. So well written.


Privilege of Parenting May 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Welcome back


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