2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

This week, cold has been sweeping across parts of North America. While the effects of the cold can be seen (whether it’s snow, frost, or puffs of breath), the cold itself is something that cannot be seen–only felt. Cue today’s prompt.

For today’s prompt, write a poem for and/or about something that cannot be seen. I mentioned cold, but there are so many more possibilities, including love, gravity, the future, thoughts, and sound waves. Our lives are filled with things we know exist but which we can’t see.


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The winning poem will also be published in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. And the winning poet will receive a copy of the 2015 Poet’s Market.

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Here’s my attempt at a Something That Cannot Be Seen poem:


Reese hit me. Only because Will
was annoying me. Hahaha.

Shut up. Reese said shut up. Because
Hannah is being annoying.

Ouch. Ouch! Aaaaa!!! Now what? Ow, ouch, ow.
Will hit me–a bunch. Reese hurt me.

Everybody quit it, just quit,
or I’m turning this car around.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He has no idea what his kids are always doing in the backseat, but it often sounds very horrible. All he can do is keep his eyes on the road and hope everyone makes to their destination safely.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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189 thoughts on “2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 12

  1. De Jackson

    The Invisibility Cloak of Hope

    She’s the quiet one
    in the corner, waiting for you
    to notice she’s arrived.

    If you listen soft
    and slow,
    she’s got a low hum
    -bled soul you can hear
    with your whole salty
    shattered heart.

    She’s got feathers, and
    can only sometimes



  2. PKP

    Something that cannot be seen (for my father)

    You wore a medallion against your chest
    A silver opened tablet of ten commandments
    About three inches on a long smooth chain
    Warm against my cheek as I rested on your
    Chest in the first summer of my arrival on the
    Black rooftop that became my first awareness
    The scent of tar and Coppertone and the tang
    Of you – the sound of your heart thumping
    Under the faded traffic in the street far below
    Out of the carriage on your chest against the
    Silver medallion warmed from the sun – you
    Murmured to me in words I did not yet decipher
    Sang songs in your low voice – your heart thumped
    The medallion warm against my cheek – first
    Memories and last – as year fell against once another
    And on another summer day – hot – you against
    White crisp sheets I lay my cheek against your chest
    And heart the thump of your heart – three – two – one
    Silence – something unseen but expected strode in
    And you left – only a medallion and a lifetime scented
    With black tar, Coppertone, the heat of the sun, and
    The scent and sensibility of a billion memories

  3. shethra77

    What’s Left

    She was so shy—
    scared of all other cats.
    Our dog used to
    run barking into the back yard
    to chase away the cats who’d
    chase her out of her own yard.

    It was in running away,
    we supposed,
    that she got lost–
    unable to find her way home—
    and ultimately
    hit by a car.

    A month later I awoke,
    middle of the night, not knowing why.
    Something was curled
    In the crooked space
    behind my legs.
    Sleepy, I thought, “It’s just the cat.”

    A moment later I realized
    we had no cat. Not any more.
    I was afraid that if I freaked out
    she’d leave, so
    I stayed still—couldn’t look—just felt her,
    and finally went back to sleep.

    I had always believed
    in things unseen. But there was
    always a particle of doubt.
    Our lost cat came home
    for just a little while…
    and doubts were banished.

    Shethra Jones Hoopes

  4. Meriadoc


    I can’t see my Voice
    Yet I know He is There
    Conjuring echoes of eloquence
    rising my spine as a stair
    disappears into what once had been
    To what may come in between
    Now and Forever and yet to be
    That? That remains to be Seen

  5. barbara_y

    What Can’t Be, Seen

    Does the apple I’m slicing
    require light to exist?
    Red does. Color enters
    us through our eyes,
    to be perceived; but
    there is no color. If
    it existed, we would be filled
    and spilling reds and blues.

  6. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 12
    Write a “something that cannot be seen” poem.

    Seen by the Heart

    What wedding photographs won’t show:
    family bonds
    familial love

    What hearts’ eyes will read in the faces:

    What will be remembered long after wedding day:
    eyes meeting
    hands touching

  7. ina


    You have the symptoms.
    You have the blurry eyes.
    You wear the sweats.
    You find yourself in front of the library,
    not remembering what you came to find.
    You leave the school yard
    and tread the tread.
    Your steps measure the heavy days ahead.
    Your voice is hard and harsh.
    Your mouth is sour and hot.
    Your father is home, trying for a normal breath,
    and you can hardly breathe at all.
    You carry cancer with you
    while it’s still at home.
    This act of bilocation does not
    make for sainthood.
    It makes for nothing.
    It makes you nothing
    but these heavy hands,
    this heavy heart,
    this head as empty as a winter nest.


  8. Connie Peters

    Clowning Around

    Milly, Tilly and Lily flew through the park one day,
    and came upon a baby Big Person lying in the grass.
    Mama Big Person was sitting on a bench with a friend.
    Milly, Tilly and Lily tiptoed over to the Big Person baby.
    They danced and made faces and jingle-jangle noises.
    They winked and jumped and hopped around like bunnies.
    The baby laughed and laughed until her little cheeks turned pink.
    “What’s making Amy laugh?”asked Mama Big Person.
    “I don’t know maybe it’s the fairies,” the Big Person friend said.
    Milly, Tilly and Lily looked at each other in surprise.
    “Can she see us?” Milly asked.
    “I don’t know,” Tilly said.
    “Let’s not wait around and find out,” Lily whispered.
    They waved to the baby as the flitted away like butterflies.

  9. thunk2much


    The ties that bind a family
    Or are they really chains?
    Invisible but solid still
    We’re all born wearing reins

    Rebellious marionettes are we
    Cursing luck and striking cords
    We revolt from our connections
    Erasing faith with bitter words

    We imagine that we’ve broken free
    But our souls still bear the mark
    We dance alone with our eternities
    And dream of family in the dark

    ~ Liesl Dineen 2014

  10. hohlwein

    What I know exists
    somewhere but can’t often see

    – sometimes, glimpses like a flash of a sunset searing the edge
    of the ocean – just the edge, distant, brilliant gold line

    love for me

  11. Connie Inglis


    Those sorries said are whitewashed tombs,
    A cultured, hollow word,
    A sorry here, a sorry there,
    So heartless, dead, absurd.

    You speak of care so tenderly,
    With arms so stiff and cold,
    In corpse-like form you shut the door,
    And toss me from the fold.

    Sepulchre of hypocrisy,
    Rejection’s work is done,
    For actions are the tell-tale sign,
    And you—yours count for none.

  12. BDP

    “If I Could See Kindness”

    Tonight, I settle in and search for you,
    Grandma, along with grade school me—for you
    of moral seams, I didn’t give you due,

    too young (rewind the tape) to know your gift
    of daily tending. I run up, a gift
    in hand: “A frog! I need a jar!” You lift

    an injury and let it go, give back
    your understanding. That’s why I go back—
    it’s begging obvious to me I lack

    your faith, the dark’s eraser of old fear.
    Say I’ve a choice, get rid of one such fear
    gone: the day you asked for sweets, your death near.

    I knew I shouldn’t, so said no. I’d now say yes,
    bring myself, sit with you, instead of emptiness.

    –Barb Peters

  13. grcran

    The invisibility of fireworks

    His smart car put the colors of foul fireworks
    on the dash: red exclamation, bright yowling yellow
    check engine, several others.
    Invisibly, it disconnected power from gasoline-
    burning forwardpusher, and hybrid battery
    (large heavy thruster for lowspeed travel)
    showed fast dwindle on the screen as he
    further depressed the pedal and felt no response,
    searching frantically for pullingover place

    also invisibly at comparable moment, his very
    son emerged from work to parking lot and found
    disabled vehicle, no fireworking, not firing here
    but nailed tire, no longer inflated and pressurized
    by unseen gas molecules which inthiscase
    had escaped, but spare had air, some
    and breaking but one lug he remobilized

    meantime, invisibly to son, father found towtruck
    to dealer, recall notices enabling free loaner car
    drove while drinking wine screwtop so there
    to warm welcome of furry orange tabby friend
    away from coldkill of perplexing polar vortex

    by gpr crane

      1. grcran

        thanks Barb! I’m in Austin and my son in Houston and I could not believe our 2 vehicles were disabled at the same time… hence the invisible thread of spirit or whatever-it-is, that I tried to write about… this kind of thing happens too often for it to be coincidence IMO

  14. Pat Walsh

    The Wind
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    the wind ripples the flag
    dislodging microscopic bits of dust
    that once dotted waxy leaves
    sprout out of thin reedy trees
    on a hill in the heat of summer
    halfway around the world
    thirty something years ago

    in the warmth of the afternoon
    footsteps on fallen leaves
    sound along the sidewalk like a parade
    as little boys and girls
    pass by chattering excited
    counting and recounting adventures
    of their first days back at school

    it is a warm day for the wind
    to echo down so many years
    with its souvenirs of moments
    passed so fast in the heat of history
    settled so long in folds of valor
    now again free to bear witness to glory
    in mercies of kindly age and jubilant youth

  15. seingraham


    I wake in the nether morning thinking I hear her voice
    But it’s just the planes leaving for the Middle East
    rumbling like peace far above, when really
    I know they’re loaded for death

    If I squint my eyes to slits I can make rainbows dance
    in the bedroom doorway and sometimes I see
    her figure shadowing there – a shimmer of light
    that disappears if I blink

    How can it be that breathing is still as normal
    as this but she’s not in evidence anywhere,
    not in the now nor in the later,
    Where in the atmosphere has she disappeared to,
    how can this possibly be

    This child of my own that I carried beneath my heart
    and could feel growing and beating her tune
    If she still breathes and I know that she does, why is it I
    cannot reach her, cannot make her hear me

    A sound not unlike living surrounds me
    and beats back my thoughts; I give in to it
    Give in to the normalcy I shrug into like a cloak,
    slide into another day of pretend
    There’s nothing else to be done, what difference
    will it make after all.

  16. Bruce Niedt

    An English rondeau for today:


    I know you’re there because I’ve seen
    the wreckage where your force has been.
    I’ve seen the books strewn on the floor,
    I’ve heard each time you slammed a door.
    You have the temper of a teen.

    I’ve watched the china closet lean,
    found holes punched in the window screen.
    I’ve read the supernatural lore –
    I know you’re there.

    Is your world somewhere in-between?
    The chessboard – you knocked down my queen.
    Perchance you’re settling a score.
    I wish I knew a little more
    about what makes you act so mean.
    I know you’re there.

  17. deringer1

    things that cannot be seen:………

    why am I worried?
    I cannot see what haunts me
    and yet it seems real.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    I hear the buzz of
    the mosquito that taunts me
    and is never there.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Of course you can’t see love!
    If I thought it was here again
    I would lock my doors.
    But I cannot see it and so
    it wafts in the cracks and keyholes
    and says “Surprise!”

  18. Janet Rice Carnahan


    In India,
    A four month journey,
    Among western friends,
    Seeking some answers.
    One woman wanting healing help,
    Invited me to fly to another village,
    To spend time while she focused on her health.
    In between our time there,
    Before afternoon tea,
    I found a sacred space,
    At the river’s edge.
    A silence was there,
    An inherent peace.
    Nature somehow spoke,
    In quiet whispers to my heart.
    A man from Poland,
    Noticed how calm I was after my time there,
    Asking what I did there.
    I invited him to sit in the sacredness,
    And see what showed up.
    We studied, observed, became aware,
    Of the sheer mystery, the mystical,
    Before us,
    As it opened for a time,
    It also closed,
    After our tea and yoga,
    We joined the rest for dinner.
    No more needed to be said.
    We just knew after that and . . .
    It was good.

  19. Sara McNulty


    A chill goes up your spine.
    Are you frightened or excited?
    A wild wind whirlpools leaves
    in a swirl about your face,
    sending cold air tunneling
    down from your neck. You’ve forgotten
    your gloves on this below freezing
    day. In dismay, you feel
    your fingers numbing; you see
    your nails turning blue. What to do?
    You stuff your hands deep
    into your pockets in clenched
    fists, keeping your head down,
    and try not to hunch your shoulders.
    Next day, you begin to sneeze.
    A chill goes up your spine.

  20. LaraEckener

    The Canary’s Final Song

    There was never a moment
    when I wasn’t tripping backwards–
    off this roof
    out of his life
    into your path.
    You said I fell so heavy
    for someone who’s so small,
    like my passion weighed as much
    as muscle and bone.
    You said to plant my feet,
    swing power from my hips,
    gulp air into my lungs
    like it might be the last breath,
    because someone so heavy
    neeed twice as much air.
    Now I’m here,
    halfway down,
    and it’s nothing like
    what I imagined.
    Through the halo of the city,
    the stars are so, so bright.
    I never thought we’d greet them
    as old women, but I always thought
    we’d be together. You’re not
    even here to scrape my broken wings
    off the wet cement.
    That’s the cruelest thing about this,
    I always thought you’d be there
    the day I learned to fly.

  21. shellcook

    Behind Your Eyes

    I see, at once, behind your eyes
    some things I’ve missed before.
    A broken wing,
    a missing tooth,
    a halo gone awry.

    Behind your eyes
    lie mysteries
    I know nothing of,
    but I would guess,
    with a tender word,
    we would have a lot to share.


  22. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)
    In China,
    A mighty army,
    Of clay was found;
    Just goes to show,
    That things unseen,
    Are all around, all around.
    Things unseen,
    Are all around.

    In California,
    Where foothills quake,
    From the grinding of
    Those bedrock plates,
    Continental drift,
    And things unseen
    Can make things shake, make things shake;
    Things unseen,
    Can make things shake.

    Things unseen
    Are still quite real;
    And it seems
    They made you feel,
    I don’t care
    But it’s not true;
    How can I prove to you,
    Those things unseen
    Aren’t what you think
    Aren’t what you think?
    Those things unseen,
    Aren’t what you think.

    In Tennessee,
    Just yesterday,
    Without a word,
    You had your say;
    And suddenly
    Things unseen
    Sent you away, sent you away;
    Things unseen,
    Sent you away.

  23. Consuelo Montenegro

    Stand-in Support Group Therapist

    We straggle in
    the three of us
    one new, one exercise friend and me.

    She says, I know how you feel
    cancer survivor – thyroid.

    I don’t think so!
    Symbols of womanhood lost
    staring their nippleless
    scarred half smiles..

    She DOESN’T know!
    and she talks
    of hidden fears
    of lurking cancer.

    I wonder
    who is better off?

    I like her anyway.

  24. grcran

    The Feel of the Fate

    (from Back to the Future) George McFly: Lorraine. My density has brought me to you… I’m your density. I mean, your destiny.

    Can I call you? He asked and she said yes
    Next day he did she answered friendship bloomed
    Right feelings known by both
    Unknown outcome but path preordained
    Everything gained… lost, as well,
    As cancer took her down
    Densely destined were the two for this.
    To share. Compare.
    No fair, some say, so young
    He held his tongue cursed
    under his breath no understanding
    No interpretation lends itself with end-
    ing not finalized oh she died but not
    he, physically… his destiny still to come
    what that is, actually, and he, not worried now
    by death or any other circumstance
    performed his prancing dance of prehensile
    pretense, pretending he’d not purged
    himself of all of it: fatality and fate, morality
    and mate… and can clandestine destiny
    be sensed? He wondered. Can I call you?

    by gpr crane

  25. Jane Shlensky

    Sights Unseen

    moonbeams glinting like spider webs
    muscle tides
    curl waves like fingers of a fist
    beckon blood’s ocean
    wind’s voice sing or howl
    play trees like drums and trumpets
    sough through grass and pines

    astral spirit-strong filaments
    ground us gravity tugs
    at the thread of being
    reminding us we are woven
    of the same mysterious
    energy unseen but felt
    silken undercurrents
    that knit the world

  26. dub

    Morning Fog

    It’s not lonely mist
    that clings to air

    before the sun peeks
    through thick sky to see

    her children playing,
    not fear for what’s beyond

    my fingers through the haze,
    reaching, retracting, waiting

    for some ancient answer. It’s a quiet
    secret I listen for, telling me

    to step out in the blank-slate day,
    find myself lost in all the white.

  27. bxpoetlover


    I’m gonna kidnap you
    merge your DNA
    with a y-chromosome
    and make me a man,
    I say to my best friend.

    We laugh, but at this point
    I am semi-serious.

    I can’t stand another night
    of lecherous gropings
    after 1, 2, 3, dates
    or disinterested looks at cell phones.

    Trying to have faith that I will meet a man who
    will say grace before we eat
    savor what I cook
    thank me after,
    and best of all, cook for me, too

    make me laugh
    appreciate my wit
    love to read
    enjoy the theater and good music
    kiss deeply, for a long time
    nestle my hair in his fingers
    rub my feet with shea butter while we
    watch a movie or
    sit outside and stare at the moon
    and hold me close

    And most of all
    stoke my imagine and my muse
    read my poems
    congratulate me on every endeavor
    just like
    my best friend.

  28. Danielle Wong

    Stagnant Heat

    I come and sit down.
    You tiptoe up behind me
    and stand silent.

    You push down on me.
    Your wisps of breath suffocate

    I sit, beads of sweat
    pouring down my back,
    drenching me.

    You stand behind me,
    ridiculing my

    You push down harder
    on my shoulders.
    My lungs ache.

    I sit, eyes rolled back.
    I’m unable to think straight,
    to see clear.

    Water, water is all
    I can think about,
    dream about.

    I lug myself away
    to the coolness of
    the kitchen

    and regain my breath,
    drying off the sweat
    with shivers.

  29. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    At the bottom of the well
    something lives.
    There are noises,
    especially at night,
    and occasionally
    the chain rattles
    and the bucket shakes.
    No need to panic.
    I am sure everybody’s safe
    as long as the weather’s dry.
    The only thing to fear
    are the rains.


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