She wrote him scented sentences that curled from page to page,
like circling smoke from burning beds—like passion, fiery rage:
You know, my husband never guessed a thing until the end.
You know yourself I can’t be blamed; I don’t think that I sinned.
I left my heart behind with you and miss your searching gaze,
and why, my love, don’t you come by on Visitation Days?
Tonight at dVerse FormForAll, host Gay Reiser Cannon is reminding us of the traditional structures of prosody, namely line and meter. I strongly recommend reading her post; it is informative, especially since most poets today favor free verse and ignore traditional lines. Even if you aren’t fond of formal poetry lines, you can use them for practice in the same way a musician practices scales–before you become a good improviser, it helps to have practiced your scales enough to have a developed ear for what works sonically.
The above dark little piece–birthed from watching too many 48 Hours special reports, I suppose–uses an iambic heptameter line (that is, seven baBUMPS). I also used rhyming couplets. Both of these were stylistic choices, hopefully adding to the feeling I wanted to create. Below is the original draft of the free verse poem I started working with.
She wrote him letters,
long scented sentences
curling off the page
and into the margins.
They said nothing,
they said everything:
how she left
her heart behind
with him, how she
missed his inquiring
touch, and how
her husband never
suspected a thing.