Small poetry

by saracomito

red-snooker-ballWhat’s your smallest poem? I mean in terms of square footage. If you were to go to work at Neidecker’s “condensary (from which there is no layoff),” what flavor would be your pulpy concentrate? Orange, persimmon, rage, wonder?

Short, Fast, and Deadly has long been a contemporary standard-bearer of micro-mini prose and poetry, and following is one of two poems editor Joseph A. Quintela was kind enough to include in that vibrant channel for the mighty small.


For dead dogs
and stolen children,
a special heaven
with rubber balls
and each other.


My flavor was grief. This was 2010. JQ is a gracious person and an exacting editor. At that time he encouraged me, telling me it was possibly the saddest poem he’d ever read. I’ll take it. It is sad. And it didn’t need to be any bigger to do that. And so I started sending out more submissions.

Everyone needs a JQ (and a Todd Swift, and an Ariel Gore, and a Dr. Marlowe Miller, all of whom gave me some very early great confidence, even before I thought anyone would like to read a teeny piece about the grinding custody situation with my son and concurrent bonding with my husband-to-be over the death of his black lab – not all poems are autobiographical, I feel I need to remind…)

If you don’t write small, what’s your favorite small piece? Alternatively – since the topic seems to have wended its way langorously into this post about the ostensibly small – who is an editor/writer/mentor that helped you gain your rhythm?)