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Living in the time of a global pandemic means meeting the familiar in slightly new ways. For some of us our home is now a playground, school, office, and park. Follow this prompt to write a poem on the ordinary objects around you in your home. Focusing on the seemingly ordinary might awaken you to something unexpected.

Each step indicates one or more lines. Have fun with line breaks.

Step 1: Pick an object you use or see every day. Describe it using concrete images. Make the reader see it, smell it, or feel it.

Step 2: How is the object described or defined in the dictionary? Or what terms do advertisers use to promote it? Borrow words and phrases from these sources.

Step 3: Ask a question (philosophical, practical, emotional) that you’ve been trying to voice or answer or one that someone asked you recently.

Step 4: Using a metaphor describe something you see outside your window, like a tree or an electric pole.

Step 5: Is there a story related to the object? For instance, maybe the tree was planted when a family member was born. Give one fact from the story.

Step 6: Write a sentence that attempts to answer the question you posed in step 3 or at least gestures toward it.

About the Contributor

Tsering Wangmo Dhompa was born in India and raised in India and Nepal. She is the author of the poetry books My Rice Tastes like the Lake, In the Absent Everyday, and Rules of the House, all from Apogee Press, Berkeley. Dhompa’s first nonfiction book, Coming Home to Tibet, was published by Penguin in India and Shambhala Publications in the United States. She teaches in the English Department at Villanova University.

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