Why Did I Do It?

by Terry Martin

Because the link was lost between echo and call
Because the child misheard trick-or-treat as trigger treat
Because of too many evenings watching PBS
Because the tiger paced the cage
Because mother’s last meal was asparagus and crème brûlée
Because of the parching desert silence
Because of the gray clawfoot tub, the pink tiled bathroom
Because the ancestors were thirst and maybe
Because I sprained my ankle rounding third base
Because the record kept skipping, over and over and over
Because my father made me get off the phone
Because of micro-mosaics in Ravenna, all those blues
Because sadness blanketed the night
Because the pond, the ducks, the bread crumbs…
Because grandpa couldn’t say he was sorry
Because of snow, and more snow
Because the kidnapped girl was never found
Because Lucille asked what sustains you?
Because the seashell tasted of tears
Because other gestures became, finally, impossible

Terry Martin’s most recent poetry book is The Light You Find (Blue Begonia Press, 2014). An avid reader and writer, she has published hundreds of poems, essays, and articles, and has edited journals, books, and anthologies. She teaches English at Central Washington University, where she won a Distinguished Professor—Teaching award, and has been honored as a U.S. Professor of the Year by the CASE/Carnegie Foundation—a national teaching award given to recognize extraordinary commitment and contribution to undergraduate education. She lives with her spouse in Yakima, Washington— The Fruit Bowl of the Nation.


Hi Terry, Rick K. here, from the GOING DOWN GRAND project. How nice to happen upon your poem here on an evening browse... It's a fine and powerful piece. Thanks.
Rick Kempa, Aug 23, 2016