Three clings
to camouflage
and Carolina

sits small
in a green chair
at the screen door

folded hands
on a white horse

but I can’t hide
the empty place
as I set the table
for two

and cling to Three


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34 Responses to Three

  1. laurie kolp says:

    I love this, Christi.

  2. dark angel says:

    Oh my this is so sad. Kinda snuck up on me.

  3. Timoteo says:

    Achingly beautiful.

  4. David Caruso says:

    I like the way the poem clings to and releases rhyme. The second stanza is stunning–the S’s & long vowels. I felt as soon as I began to wait for one sound you come in quickly with another. This hide & seek with sound echoes against the sadness of the poem, of what is missing–and that one can cling to what is missing! Excellent.

  5. This piece just snuck up and hit me between the eyes–beautifully done Christi!

  6. Blindsided by the ending.

    Amazing writing.

  7. hedgewitch says:

    So subtle, so effective, and the simplicity of language just burns. Loved it.

  8. brian miller says:

    ugh i felt this one deep…and it hurt…waiting ont he pale horse ride…not a great place to be…or setting the table after….

  9. Jebbi says:

    I think if you don’t already, you should have a book….loved this…so heart achingly beautiful.

  10. Brendan says:

    A very simple poem that clearly reveals the brute heft of the cross the speaker bears — we all have at least one, that’s why the pathos is so tangible. To me it read as in irreducible fact of the burden of the lived live. Fine job. – B

  11. Kim says:

    Oh this is delightful and in that I see sadness and so much hope, yes little one hope.
    The white pony and hands folded as in prayer and camouflage, waiting at the kitchen table looking at the screen door. How these families cope is beyond me knowing at anytime pain may come crashing through the door and forever their lives are changed and only the past with memories will be their life going forward. But, many do return, so pray for that! Yes!

  12. Steve King says:

    This is a wonderful composition, so balanced, so quiet (on the outside, of course) and so polished.

  13. A fine example showing that when the shirt firm is done well- it can pack a real punch. Created such a sad vision. I got this vision of a mother and daughter- almost in grief at the loss of a father, a soldier, maybe who was at war ( maybe it was the clinging to camouflage)- just felt really sad- and I had a vision of the mother and daughter sat and embracing- looking at the empty spot at the table. I’m probably completely missing the point- but liked how your words created these images and feelins so strongly in me.

  14. Shawna says:

    This is phenomenal; I keep rereading. I really love framing like this: the title, the first word, and the last word all connected (in this case, the same). One, two, three. Makes me think of the Trinity first off. Of course, by the end we see the loss, foreshadowed by the lullabies (either in Carolina or her name was Carolina). “Camouflage” … hiding, covering, wearing something over pain, probably the mundane like setting the table and making dinner. Going back to being unable to hide at the end. Excellent closing.

    There’s a back-and-forth between the present and the memory of the little girl sitting in the chair, waiting.

    I could also read this in another way: a woman recalling her painful childhood (lonely, waiting, empty), now perhaps married and struggling to hide her empty places while clinging to spirituality (“Three” in One) for hope, answers, and healing.

    Ha! I just caught the obvious meaning here. πŸ™‚ I hadn’t read your tag list or looked at “camouflage” in the most general military sense. Well now you know this could work well for a few different scenarios! Love the image of the 3-year-old holding her daddy’s shirt or a camo blanket.

    Sorry for “over-reading.”

    • Christi Moon says:

      Shawna– you have to be one of the most insightful readers I have ever come across. A delight to read your interpretation of this poem. You have completely nailed more than one of the layers to this painful piece, and it thrills me that you were able to see past the more obvious one. thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

      • Shawna says:

        Thanks for giving me something tight but meaty to sink my teeth into. I could have kept on and on analyzing and breaking it down word by word. But when I saw “military” in the tag list, I blushed in embarrassment that I was reading too much between the lines. So I stopped. πŸ™‚ Next time, I won’t! Some poets write in multiple levels, and some don’t. It’s easy for me to try and find things that aren’t there. Now I know you’re one who writes the “more.” I’ll happily dig it out.

        • Christi Moon says:

          I removed the ‘military’ tag on this. Thanks again for the sharing your thoughts. quite happy to have you digging around in this Shawna πŸ™‚

  15. Shawna says:

    A miscarriage also crossed my mind as that image has a bit of a sonogram feel to it.

    The first word, “Three,” could be a noun describing a person (3 years old perhaps, or a third marriage) or it could reference God (as He clings to all things trying to hide, pulling their covering off bit by bit, not giving up on them). “Three” could be an adjective describing “clings,” meaning that someone has hurt and hidden three times, or maybe that there are three layers to this poem. Or did the holder of the camouflage just squeeze it three times? So many possibilities!

    Oh how we “sit small,” even when we are very big.

    Screen doors … let things in, let things out, don’t really protect from dangerous things, just bugs and some bad weather … not rain, not anything determined to get through. Just takes one rip of thin mesh to get to you. Also not much keeping you from getting out. Just enough to keep someone small in that chair.

    Folded hands … patience, calm, or giving up. Resigned to sit and wait, knowing nothing’s coming. White for purity, innocence, chastity, marriage. The contrast of horse and pony, big and little, strong and weak. Perhaps a bit of a “knight on a white horse” come to save the day … turned out to be a pony instead?

    Is she on the ride or waiting for the ride? Does she even know?

    The final “Three” must be God since you’ve capitalized it. In the beginning, He’s clinging you. But by the end, you’re clinging to Him too.

    There’s a bit more of what I see … probably more than you intended, as I am prone to overdo it. πŸ™‚ I love short poems with obviously intentional and intriguing language that leads me to believe there is more meaning packed in than I could ever unravel. But I accept the challenge to try.

    • Christi Moon says:

      I wanna know what you had for breakfast! what an exquisite capacity for unraveling the mysteries of verse you have Shawna πŸ™‚

  16. ayala says:

    Beautifully done, Christi !

  17. Luke Prater says:

    Is this how it stays? The ending, I mean? Strong piece though, Christi

  18. ChasingTao says:

    Wow! All I can say is that really ‘hit’ me at the end! Kudos! Roger ☺

  19. Steve Piper says:

    Bittersweet, wonderfully powerful, it almost made this old grandpa cry, success! Β»^.,.^Β«

  20. Will there be a new letter to the moon in the mail soon? Missing the words.

  21. Emma says:

    Christi, this is such a sad poem…something that I can relate to, feel deep within. I think it’s also a piece that many can find a place in because you have left it open. Poor sweet girl endlessly waiting..

    • Christi Moon says:

      it’s been hard to watch Emma. …she’s still waiting.

      thanks so much for the blog visit and the comments, very much appreciated — C.

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