Thursday, December 1, 2022

Answer to an Unasked Question

Hello Poets,

It's December -- isn't it wonderful? Thank you, Catherine, for hosting our round-up this week. 

This month, Molly challenged the Inklings to write a poem that answered an unasked question.

I had plans to write a children's poem...instead, I wandered into a much younger adult self.

If You Found This Letter

It will be after one of the kids

broke your My Sister, My Friend frame. 

Or, you, tired of the fading plastic
in your sunny window
and it slipped out from
behind our photo.

We were so young

No husbands or kids,

pets, bills, or in-laws yet.

Mom was still with us.

Every time I run a cloth 
over the glass of my frame which is not often enough— I remember waiting for the summer carnival saving up allowance for the midway.

That booth with its purple curtain
and, us, jammed onto the bench,

I pause over our smiling mouths
not a wrinkle in sight.

That photo is still my favorite.


it will be hard to remember

But, I wrote it all down
and tucked it behind the photo.
You’ll find it.

I know you will.

And, I’ll bet you write back.

-draft. Linda Mitchell

See more Inkling responses to this challenge:

Reflections on the Teche
Reading to the Core
My Juicy Little Universe
Nix the Comfort Zone
A(nother) Year of Reading

There's a new golden shovel on Star's padlet. It's hard to believe it's time to begin saying goodbye to Star. She's been a good friend this year. Just a few more weeks of poems for her.


  1. Oh, I love the answer, Linda, keeping close a memory with your sister. That "running a cloth over" is what happens, right, the best reward for dusting!

  2. I have a sister and thought of her when I read this, and a picture of her I have when we were about twenty. About the letter: "You'll find it. I know you will." It really resonated.

  3. Oh I love this so much. Such love and tenderness and faith. xo

  4. Loving, wistful sentiment, treasured memories. Wonderful! ~ jama

  5. Linda, this one packs a punch...I have photos like this with my sisters that have become repositories for so much more than the moment captured. I especially love the pause and "not a wrinkle in sight" -- those words traversing time.

  6. You created such a wonderful sense of nostalgia and time passing, along with rich layers of emotion here. The choice details you include really capture the moment and the lasting connection. I feel such a bond with my sisters these days, so this one really resonates.

  7. Linda, I love how you did this. It's so honest and so loving, recalling a special time with your sister...before separate adult lives begin. I only have one sibling - a sister. We're very different but I love her very much. I'd love to write a poem to her about a special moment in our youth. Thanks for the idea. You did a wonderful job.

  8. Like all the other examples of poetic prompt, I found your poem evoked a strong connection for me as a reader, Linda. It is both nostalgic and illuminating. It speaks of a bond that traverses time. Gentle words, powerfully delivered.

  9. Sometimes when we meet about a poem and offer our critiques, I wonder if the poem will be made worse, yet you did it so well here. You cleared up every bit of confusion. I hope you send this to your sister. It is a lovely memory of your childhood together.

  10. Linda, your poem rings of love for family. This line, "not a wrinkle in sight", made me smile. Long ago memories transport us back in time. As others say, the nostalgic look back into time is endearing. I agree you should send it to your sister. - Carol Varsalona

  11. I love the way you captured this memory in the first place, with a letter tucked secretly behind a photo, and how you pull that letter and the memory out via this poem.

  12. This is Jone. iPad is not cooperating with comments. I love the memory and placing the secret letter with the photo. I can imagine finding the letter.

  13. Linda, the precise memories you've woven into your lovely poem are so tender and so filled with love. This brought tears to my eyes.

  14. The poems using that prompt have been wonderful! This one is beautiful, Linda. I can see the photo & its frame in my head.

  15. Thanks for bringing us there into this long ago memory, your captured it well!

  16. Oh, this one got to me! Sisters. The best.

  17. The details of the midway as we hop in the purple booth with you and your sister -- I felt like I was there in the moment with you.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!