Original poem reprinted online here: "The Damage" by Emma Bolden
Originally read: April 14, 2013
More information about the Poet: Emma Bolden
Past me wrote this for the first line, "Humorous opening line -- I hope it's (cherub's head) a statue not an allegory." Why did I think that? Because the title, "The Damage" is such a loaded title. There will always be an expectation where the poem has to do about something breaking, and there's so much pressure to invent, reinvent or try something new with the expectation.
With that being written, the first line fulfills the expectation. The damage is on the "cherub's head," but since there is a specific item -- the cherub -- then there's the foreshadowing of symbolism. What does a replica of something holy, something sacred mean to the poem.
Butt of course we need a little back story, "The day before we'd driven nine hours." The drive commitment solidifies that the "we" has a connection of some sort (not like strangers, but not necessarily a couple). Since the noun is ambiguous, so is the relationship, and the type of people, right?
"We'd only spoken through three." Now, poetically speaking, this could show that there's a certain distance between the speaker and the other. Or it could reference the fact that the speaker has more attention to detail than the other. To me, the ominous tone of something "damage" is compounded with the specificity of time passing -- as though there's an anticipation for the damage. Realistically though, c'mon, I've been on road trips with family and friends -- talking for three hours out of nine is really good ratio. There's only so much you can talk about before it's just filler conversation of no value.
"Now we were in the home we had to make," There's a tone of resignation and obligation here -- "we had to make" doesn't sound as hopeful as "will make." The decline of connection is confirmed with this line.
The only piece of dialogue punctuates the decline. The "he" in the we says, "Thank God, he said. That hideous thing." A sense of relief to have something damaged or gone; meanwhile, the speaker, obviously and predictably, is trying to justify her attachment with the hideous by acknowledging the faults and stating to "love" it regardless.
This poem holds a lot of emotional weight, and since this is prose poem there's more of a sense of a connection and a sense of a needed resolution.