Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Found Object Poem Project -- Tracks

photo by me


Under each of his
uncut fingernails is a
half-moon of black.

No fewer than twelve
jangling keychains
hang from his backpack.

He returns from the library
joy on his face
hugging his new stack.

After twenty-two weeks
his brave facade
is cracked.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2015


  1. When I started writing this poem, each of the "tracks" was written with a different student in mind. Before I hit "publish," I switched all the pronouns so that they matched. Now it sounds like it's about ONE person (which makes it fiction now), but I think it has better flow and tells a story...even if it's fiction...or maybe especially because it's fiction!

  2. I was fascinated by the story behind your poem and clicked on your link hoping to learn more. Thanks for sharing your process.

  3. I hope you will share more about the photo. I love it as I do the poem.

    1. The photo is of tire tracks in light snow in the parking lot at school. I was stuck by the geometry, the color, and the light.

  4. The details are so real. It feels like it's one kid. And I want to know more of his story. A novel in verse?

  5. What a wonderful pairing of the photo and the poem, Mary Lee. The careful details in the writing (half-moon of black, jangling keys, stack of books...) contrasts with the monochrome photo, yet each are traces of a story.