2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 7

For the next few days, I’ll be corresponding from Austin, Texas, which means Tammy will post my prompt and poem for me each morning. 


For today’s prompt, write a “what if” poem.  It could be a “what if” from the past, present or future.  For instance, what if no one discovered electricity?  (How would we do this challenge?) 


Here is my attempt:

“10 minutes ago”

My car wouldn’t scare the bird to the sky.
The bird wouldn’t fly down to inspect what
remains.  The corpse wouldn’t be spread across
two lanes of interstate.  The driver would
not hold her breath and then cry.  A possum
would not brace for impact.  If it only
could have stayed far far away from the road.

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0 thoughts on “2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 7

  1. Mike Bayles


    This closed door
    standing before me
    affords answers
    the what if,
    a sea of possibilities.
    Simple logic beckons,
    asks a choice be made,
    to do and know,
    or not, and not know
    the hidden fate.
    To know means to face
    the consequences.
    Yet, to not, has consequences, too,
    when staying the same.
    To stay the same
    calls for refrain
    and begs for satisfaction
    with the knowledge that remains.

  2. Sam Nielson

    What If Gravity Was Only 98% Efficient?

    I think I’d like it.
    You would float just off
    The surface where you
    Would tap your toes
    For guidance.

    Cars would need thrusters
    And stay already levitated
    Waiting to air ski.

    What would we think about?
    Would the weightier matters
    Weigh less? More?

    And for travel
    To France, after a lesson
    In geography we’d need
    Only to jump hard in the
    Right direction with
    A pocket of food and water
    And a little time to see
    All the sights.

  3. Virginia Snowden VSBryant

    “What If?”

    What if she never met him.
    What if he never met her.
    What if they never kissed.
    What if they simply missed.
    What if she walked the other way.
    What if he had nothing to say.
    What if there never was that special day.
    What if I…was never made.

  4. ann

    I saw a northern flicker
    and a rabbit this morning;
    both were golden brown
    and lit up the mud patch
    and stubbly unborn grass
    like sunshine at ground
    level before the sun was
    fully up. I called you to
    come but by the time you
    did, they were gone, bird
    feeder swinging, mud left
    like it was. A rabbit’s prints
    are light and a northern
    flicker is unforgettable.

  5. stephanie barbe hammer

    what if there were no ears?
    i don’t mean hearing —
    i mean the flapppy part that
    you hang the earrings on or
    make that big hole in the lobe of
    if you are a certain kind of white person
    what would Ray Bans do? where would earbuds
    park themselves?
    would we have to really listen,
    unable, as it were — to stop up our ears with that protrusion
    you use to block out the fire-engines?
    would we hear the sirens, like Ulysses did?
    each other? ourselves? crickets? garbage trucks?
    or the silence that underlies all the commotion?–
    i wonder, as i adjust my 6 fake diamond studs.

  6. Patti Williams

    He vowed he would
    Destroy me.
    During the manic rages
    As his face turned into
    The demon that lives
    Within, he spewed the
    Words on my face
    Mixing his anger
    With my tears.

    I tell myself he would
    Never actually fulfill
    That promise but what if
    I am wrong. It is possible
    My assumption is naive
    And if that is true,
    I will end due to a very
    Grave mistake.

  7. Laura Kayne

    What If?

    What if, those many years ago,
    You and she had never talked?
    Or the two of them had never met?
    Simple, single, little threads,
    Creating the patchwork of our lives.

    If you’d chosen left, instead of right,
    And followed the path to one open door,
    That led to another, and then the next,
    That led to one meeting, and then one more.
    Leading all of us to one single night,
    Where the two of us first talked.

    What if I had chosen to stay, instead of go,
    Or to be with someone else?
    I might not have looked your way –
    Never known what I’d narrowly missed.
    But I believe we were meant to be –
    Pull one thread and we still stay strong,
    And we would have found a way.

  8. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 7
    Write a "what if" poem.

    What if I never ventured to write a poem every day?

    Words of other poets would not have pierced my heart.
    Strangers would have remained so, and not become those
    I know as colleagues, even friends.
    My own poetry would know poverty
    compared to the richness of image, symbol, emotion
    that spill across the pages of my thoughts
    as I inhale fresh-cut poems every day for a month.
    My days would be grayer, my character weaker,
    my life mean less.
    I lift my hands over the keyboard in gratitude and praise.

  9. shann palmer

    Side Show

    The one-eyed lady plays two-handed organ
    every Sunday at the Episcopal church, no feet,
    somewhere between a big town that thinks small
    and a small town that thinks too highly of itself.

    She could have been a contender but fell short,
    no depth to her thinking, she was awful at chess,
    never saw anything coming, couldn’t open for a kiss,
    keep a secret close, or figure out who to hold.

    This Little Old Lady who takes leftover cake
    grips the steering wheel hard on the interstate,
    wishing for a quick end while she prays to live
    til the twelfth of never (& that’s a long, long time).

    At every mile marker, she notes her blessings,
    in between recalls missed chances and cries,
    there’s no knowing how far she’d drive,
    given gas, given money, a box or two of Trefoils.

    It won’t be long until she’s the elder, death watch
    on one aunt, the other double runging Jacob’s ladder.
    If she believes in heaven (they do) she’s mighty sure
    she doesn’t want to go there, join up with that bunch.

    Content to live a serious life, she hopes her kids find
    whatever it is she’s missed, but that may not happen.
    Some low level of misery must be genetic, seems
    they try too hard, have faith in the wrong people.

    In the summer she watches for a falling star,
    not for wishing, but for bringing a Tralfamadorian,
    a faint hope of rescue and simple justification
    for the puzzled look she wears under her church face.

  10. AC Leming

    Late post for yesterday’s prmpt…

    What if I’d never met him.
    Never pinned him to the wall
    with the heat of my gaze.
    What if we’d never slipped
    into each other, never made 
    you.  Where would we be?

  11. Yoly

    What If

    On my way home, I spot you on a park bench, and superhero
    comic books poke out of plastic bags with corners punched
    through a grocery cart, and you have on a ragged army t-shirt,
    shoes, old as the burden of war, earth’s knickknacks tatted
    on your sunburned arms, hands and reddish whiskered face,
    golden (or are they green?) eyes that in emerald times might
    have contained a striking girl, college milieu, bills, dreams on
    a slab, things with boundaries and expiration dates,

    and I do a rubber peeling reverse on yesterday’s banter
    on my cell to show God
    how distracted I am with things like ill fitted new shoes
    or trumpet glowing begonias that pervade orange scents
    along the ground I live on.

    If I didn’t have these things on the lip of my heart,
    I would surely stop – to do what,
    feign compassion with a few silver coins?

    But I honestly would do what I should for the man under the sun’s
    feverish pitch, the man that pretends I’m not close by and so he
    speaks in a different kind of cell to perhaps the man he used
    to be before spirits, like Ellis Island immigrants, settled in a new
    world. Would the shame of being me eclipse the shame of being you?

  12. Mariel Dumas

    If I were Queen

    Every morning I awake to the scent of Jasmine flowers;
    fair Hibisiscus plants, high palm trees
    Rose tea and herbs as a milk bath is fixed.
    The fine bread and sweets; Turkish delights for a morning feast
    Prepared delicately and gracefully as I lounge deep in bed;
    In royal blue silk sheets; a gift from the Chinese emperor
    Dark, moist rose petals await outside the door of my boudoir
    To meet my powdered feet
    As Nefrititi prepares a boat of foot soldiers
    Nubian princes in cashmere come to carry homage; black pearls and rubies
    A compelling gold sphinx
    Heady mists of Venetian seas capture the night
    Where a zillion stars light up for me
    While zebras and lions roam in the courtyard by day
    Of my palace; painted like an Arabian harem
    Sconces and demi-balconies transcend the moon so clear and pale;
    Mary Antoinette would succumb to envy.

  13. Mariel Dumas

    If I were Queen

    Every morning I awake to the scent of Jasmine flowers;
    fair Hibisiscus plants, high palm trees
    Rose tea and herbs as a milk bath is fixed.
    The fine bread and sweets; Turkish delights for a morning feast
    Prepared delicately and gracefully as I lounge deep in bed;
    In royal blue silk sheets; a gift from the Chinese emperor
    Dark, moist rose petals await outside the door of my boudoir
    To meet my powdered feet
    As Nefrititi prepares a boat of foot soldiers
    Nubian princes in cashmere come to carry homage; black pearls and rubies
    A compelling gold sphinx
    Heady mists of Venetian seas capture the night
    Where a zillion stars light up for me
    While zebras and lions roam in the courtyard by day
    Of my palace; painted like an Arabian harem
    Sconces and demi-balconies transcend the moon so clear and pale;
    Mary Antoinette would succumb to envy.

  14. Diane

    Linda, thanks! That’s really what I was wondering about. Your ideas are just what I need.

    This is one page I need to come back and read later. Linda, your poem is haunting. Thank you for sharing your grief.

    I’ll HAVE to come back and read the rest of this page.

  15. Diane

    Thank you Marie. I will check out the site you shared.

    I have been wanting to tell you how much I admire your poem on day five,"Smiles" What you said is profoundly true.

    I like many of your poems, but I have such a short time to comment that I don’t tell you as often as I would like, and other people have usually done so before I get on.

    There are many others who don’t get as many comments from me for the same reason. I hope no one thinks I like their poems less if I fail to mention them when I mention others. 🙂

    Right now nursing home and doctor visits are keeping me behind.

  16. Laura Hohlwein

    What if the moon
    fell in love with Mars
    and we could feel her
    slowly drifting from us

    Her light would lay matte
    on our lakes and dull oceans
    and our white fluttering curtains
    at night would not glow with the miraculous present
    as she put her love into looking instead
    like a perfect pearl in deep space, waiting

    so that Mars
    whose moons were ugly and difficult
    would find her
    lovely, luminescent, remote
    and unable to pull her close
    could only see the Earth and the Moon

    forever together
    beautiful, taken
    unattainable moon

  17. Tanja Cilia

    What if… Had Grown Old With You

    I would have liked to…

    See the flowers bloom;
    Make out the lines on a map,
    And watch our child grow.

    Watch the crows that fly,
    One for sorrow, two for joy;
    Seven being sly.

    Days fade into nights
    Arms folded and eyes shut tight
    Yet my mind’s frantic.

    Blank cinema screen…
    With nothing worthwhile showing,
    All hope has vanished.

  18. Penny Henderson


    Had the women at the well not been so cruel to me,
    hogging the well and the water;
    had they not sat around the brim walls burning me
    with fiery words of condemnation;
    had I been intrepid, drawn at dawn with rest
    to throw their ugliness back a them,
    I would have missed the prophet.
    But would one whose heart could do such things
    have heard him anyway?
    Or given him a drink, and walked on to perdition?

  19. Margot Suydam

    What if

    I had not slammed
    doors, broken things
    on my way out, could
    I ever trespass back
    into the confines
    of your tired heart,
    chance that embraces
    with warm intentions
    ever be well-received
    not ignored and left
    to their own devices?

  20. Babs Loyd

    Day 7 What If Sir Isaac Newton Didn’t Lie

    Why didn’t Sir Isaac Newton tell the truth about the number of colors in the rainbow?

    Did he fear his execution as a heretic if he revealed the prism’s light showed only 6?

    Did he fabricate that the heavenly number 7 ordered the rainbow and music’s chords?

    There’s no record of anyone challenging him, perhaps he owned the only prism.

    Yellow, green, blue, violet, red and orange we know are there. Indigo, not.

  21. Mr. Walker

    Only Twenty-two

    In 1753, Governor Dinwiddie trusted
    Major Washington to deliver a letter
    to the French commander who had occupied
    the Ohio territory in dispute.
    Not only did Washington return,
    but he prepared a full report
    of the situation, including a map
    with the location of the French forts.

    The Ohio Company had begun construction
    of an English fort at the junction
    of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers.
    Washington, now a lieutenant colonel,
    was sent in 1754 to complete and defend
    this fort. But before his detachment
    could reach the fort, the French had captured
    it and renamed it Fort Duquesne.

    Washington continued his march, and parleyed
    with Indians he encountered. He was unable
    to convince any to join the English.
    On May 28, he attacked and captured
    a small French force, thus starting the war.
    Finding their advance position dangerous,
    he and his men hastily constructed
    what they called Fort Necessity.

    The French advanced on the English
    and a skirmish ensued. Their were losses
    on both sides. Washington knew
    they could not successfully defend
    their position. As he prepared to surrender,
    he was killed by a French musket ball.

    What if George Washington had been killed
    at the start of the French and Indian War?

  22. Michelle Hed

    Skin Deep

    What if the grass was blue,
    the sea was red and the sky was yellow?
    What if instead of white, yellow, black and brown,
    we were red, blue, green and purple?
    Would there still be racial tensions
    between the reds and the greens?
    Slurs said of or against each color?
    Or would we know
    color is only
    skin deep.

  23. Walt Wojtanik

    Not a whole lot of time in the last two to read and comment. But what I saw give me a good feeling about the direction this PAD is going. To see a lot of the old names return in conjunction with the wonderful "new" talent, it gives a great energy to want to keep pace. It moves so fast.
    Iain, thoughts for your father. Marie, always for your wrok, support and commitment. All this and Sophie, Too! Hannah, permanent smiles and De – A Ron Burgundy moment, "Stay Classy". Michele, Bruce, great work. Carol, more thoughts for you as well. Misk, Connie, Caren consititently good.
    Michael (Walt Lite) if I had to pass the torch, I can see it in your very capable hands. Kimiko, lovin it! Jacqueline (Groupie #1) Kudos, from your No. 1. Debra – thumbs up. Barbara Young , the other thumb (and I don’t say it often enough, you are still a thrill to read and appreciate. Pearly, if I’m the glue, you’re the clamp that holds it together. Jerry (Chev) awe inspiring and heart warming and all that, but "Go Jacket?" Linda, Maxie, Karen, Pupo, the list doesn’t end until every last poet posts sto the prompt. Thanks to all as well, you make being me more enjoyable and that in itself is the greatest reward. I’ll post if I can, but I’m off to discover Columbus! Go Jacket? Yeah, right! 😉

  24. bluebethley

    What If . . .

    What if cows could fly,
    buoyed up by some mystical power,
    tomatoes could talk, or goldfish
    could read? What if that rounded golden moon
    really is made of green cheese?
    What if Columbus were right,
    the world is flat and was created
    in only seven days?
    All we see are chimeras,
    some massive communal hallucination
    that has each talking to each
    in circling, mirrored code,
    more taxing than carrying an M-16,
    or running a government,
    or building a high rise that survives an earthquake,
    where even the news
    comes marked by rainbows,
    books are not burned, and
    every single one of us has enough to eat,
    a place to sleep, work to do, and a day of rest.
    I can only watch the snow melt in April,
    stare at empty hands and hope.

  25. M.A. Dobson

    Linda Voit: Write a What If Poem He Says perfectly captures the heart of the what if? conundrum; it’s beautiful and haunting.
    A-Lotus: So glad you enjoyed Counterclocking, thanks for your comments! My Twitterbrain had a lot of fun writing it.

  26. Tracy Davidson

    What If There Were No ‘Poetic Asides’?

    Life would be boring and grey
    without the challenge of wonderful prompts
    to play with and enjoy every day.

  27. Tracy Davidson

    What If…

    golfers didn’t spit
    on the lush greens and fairways
    of fair Augusta

    What If…

    dumb fans didn’t shout
    ‘in the hole’ and ‘yo the man’
    every chance they get

    That’s assuming they’re all still doing that. Here in the UK we’ve lost half our coverage from the BBC to Sky this year and I’ve yet to see a single shot. We get one lousy hour tonight of highlights from yesterday. I am not a happy bunny!
    Go Rory!

  28. Bruce Niedt

    Wish I had time to read everyone but my schedule won’t allow reading over 200 poems a day! I did glance at my favorites (and you know who you are) and as usual I was impressed, amused and moved. And Robert, I agree with the others who said your poem today is one of your very best. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my poems. I’ll return the favor soon, I promise.

  29. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    playing the ‘what if’ game
    (for Leatha)
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    you wondered once
    if the world would be better off
    minus your existence,
    to which i had countered with
    the notion that in this life
    paths always cross for good reason,
    and how the outcome of another
    may depend entirely upon
    the crossroads of oneself.

    who else would have stepped up
    and cared for that elderly friend,
    cooking and shopping and
    driving to appointments
    when it seemed the world
    had filleted her to the bone.
    would the world really care
    if you shorted her one lonely,
    depressed, diabetic bag lady?

    would someone else had stepped in
    and championed that little boy,
    spotlighted like deer in the chaotic dark,
    suffering unspeakable acts
    years in the silence?
    that your son had enough trust
    to convince his friend to come
    to you in the first place,
    speaks volumes of the angels
    that serve you, dear sister.

    and what if you didn’t live across
    from your daughter’s best friend
    who ran to your arms upon discovery
    of her mother dead from an overdose?
    what other safe haven could she
    had gone to while awaiting
    out-of-state relations
    to come handle the mess?

    injustice and fate
    while uncontrollable pawns,
    are not entirely insurmountable.
    but how do you know
    your past comfort and kindness
    won’t get paid forward in diamonds and spades?
    where would you be
    without pain and your triumphs
    where would all be
    had your paths had never crossed?

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  30. Hannah Gosselin

    Love it when we’re in the house at the same time!!! I hope your day is bursting at the seams with the light that you carry, beautiful Marie!

  31. Hannah Gosselin

    We truly are what we eat, Walt!! I’ve been reading all about this. Remembering is in the this, in the grains that we’ve grown as ancient culture. I’ve been reading a book about Macrobiotics. Very interesting.

  32. Marie Elena

    Diane: Well, I’m rather all puffed up that I would be one of the people you would ask. And in such AWESOME company? Whoa… Okay, so I’m assuming you are referring to your quotes within quotes. I LOVE Grammarbook.com. Mainly, I love that it’s free. 😉 Here is a url that answers your question. See rule #4: http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp . Your outside quotes would be double, and inside quotes would be single. OR, if you are referring to the length of your quote, see rule #5, here: http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/colons.asp . I hope this helps!

    Iain: Prayers for your dad and your family. 

    Thanks SO much to Misk, Connie, Michael, and Benjamin.

    De Jackson: You made my day. Big time. Mega cyber hugs!


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