Writing Prompt Responses – 2 poems by Jill Roderick


As simple as they are, trigger words seem to work well as a writing prompt. We used the trigger words “winter” and “spring” (because it’s still very much winter here in Western Massachusetts – the idea being either write about what you’re dealing with in the moment, or write about the thing you’re wishing would come soon).

The other trigger word was “hidden” – that’s the one Jill used for her first poem. For her second poem, she responded to the prompt “Pick a number” (with no more explanation than that – take it wherever you want to go). Jill took it pretty far – ie, infinity (the sideways “8”) – and the two poems seem to go together well.

Feel free to respond to these poems – possibly with poems of your own from the same prompts.

Now… the poems…


Hidden were your eyes, the eyes that once beheld me
Hidden was your smile, the one that used to greet me
Hidden was your face
once beamed brightly in my presence
Hidden were your thoughts of me
you kept them locked far away
Hidden was your love
Like a fire its flames you extinguished
Hidden you kept your emotions
locked up deep,
in the dungeon,
Hidden you have kept yourself
From me, far from me

Pick a number: ∞

∞was how long your love was to last
∞is when you said you’d hold me
∞should be our lifetime spent together
∞ was to be our beginning and end
∞for us was never meant to be
For∞ you have gone away
I am here awaiting your return and for ∞I will stay
Even though time stole our ∞ I will love you
until the end, until∞


One thought on “Writing Prompt Responses – 2 poems by Jill Roderick

  1. trigger words: hidden and spring

    “a note underground”

    hidden in the grass was the note we wrote about the boys
    there were three of them
    but it started with one
    he walked from his house to mine and i was on the freshly mowed lawn
    in a disney t-shirt and brightly colored shorts
    and he wanted to play catch
    at eight, i knew i was in love
    i wrote about love in my diary: our knees touching in the car
    on the way to adventure land
    and how he held my hand while walking on bridges of chains
    so i would not fall
    at twelve, i fell for him
    i knew i would not forget his face the night i told him
    our love was a mystery to no one
    we touched each other under blankets in the afternoons
    and slept alone at night, two houses apart
    our mouths ever-opening to speak underwater
    where we lay our secrets in twirls sputtering for breath

    we ran until we couldn’t run anymore, and he couldn’t find us
    we would crouch in strangers’ bushes and were never afraid
    until the day he discovered he would be a father
    and the day his own father breathed his last breath
    in a freezing cold hospital room, and he didn’t remember his name

    his name was written first, and we all wrote that we loved him
    we spent most days together but i was alone
    i had meant what i wrote
    the other boys would come to play and i would get nervous and
    feel that fast-blinking motion in my stomach but
    i never cared
    i never cared
    still, he was only part of the list

    i watched him grow older and forgot
    just what it felt like in moments he understood
    until i found myself in a hospital room and was drawn back
    to the space beneath the dirt
    where i stored my truths
    when i was released i went home to find them
    and there he was in the middle of the street, skateboarding
    as if not a day had passed
    he saw me pull into the driveway and strolled up
    nervously, like he had done something wrong
    “your grandmother told me you were sick,” he said
    “she made it sound like you were going to die”
    his voice cracked, and i saw him
    i wrapped my arms around him and for that moment
    we were children
    there were secrets that didn’t need mentioning
    and truths that didn’t need explaining
    we held onto each other
    i meant what i wrote

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