for a real one


We met four years

after you needed healing

after you became the living dead

after your first husband shot down all your dreams

after his loaded pistol targeted your self-confidence

after he fathered a child with another woman

after you jumped the broom too soon


We met again three years

after I mopped up my mess

after my old broom didn’t sweep clean

after I swept you off your feet

after we danced all night

after you divorced your first husband

after “Not Gon’ Cry” strengthened your resolve


We met again two years

after your heart leapt heartily

after you laced up for a second spring

after you found love in a better man

after you learned to pace yourself

after you forgave and forgot

after God healed you


We met again one year

after I took to tying my shoes before tying the knot

after I got back on my feet

after I fell

after I jumped the broom too soon

after I forgot to lace up

after I drank too much cherry wine


We met again today

after a sway of sorrow swept over me

after your first husband shot up all your dreams

after his loaded pistol targeted your confident self

after he needed healing

after he became the living dead

after all


Author’s Note: Several months ago, a friend of mine asked me to write a poem about her. I told her I might someday even though I wasn’t sure what I’d say. I’d never written a poem about someone by request so I was concerned that it’d be a shit show. Weeks and weeks went by and I wrote not a word. Then one day while sitting at my living room window, I was reflecting on the conversation she and I had some 15 minutes prior and was finally inspired to write something. I started thinking about aspects of our individual lives that ran parallel and perpendicular, and those thoughts became the genesis of “Ladybug“. I worked on it all afternoon and then sent the first draft of it to her. She loved it, but I didn’t. Something was missing. I also didn’t like the structure of it. I revised it that evening and then sent the second draft of it to a poet friend of mine who is a past recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. I value her opinion a great deal and knew that she’d give me an honest critique. Her words gave birth to “Ladybug Reloaded,” initially titled “A Shot in the Dark”. After finishing it the following day, I didn’t know what to do next. I had two poems much alike in content but different in style that I liked for different reasons. Not knowing which one to publish, I sent them both to the publisher of Calliope Crashes and he echoed more of the same. So I did a final draft of each and then stepped away from them both for about a week. I chose to publish “Ladybug” in the end because there was something about the imagery and the metaphors that I just couldn’t ignore. It was moving. It was raw. It was real. And yet, I still liked it less because it wasn’t as poetic as “Ladybug Reloaded”. But that didn’t stop it from quickly becoming a fan favorite, leaving me wondering whether I should even bother publishing “Ladybug Reloaded”. I left it unpublished for a month and then decided to release it. Sometimes an artist creates something, edits it, and ends up with something entirely different. Sometimes both versions are equally as good, making choosing between them difficult. And sometimes the artist must share them both and tell of the process so as to inspire others to welcome critiques and embrace the editing process. It’s my hope that this note inspires someone. Writing’s hard, but somebody’s gotta do it.


One Response to “Ladybug Reloaded”

  1. Meagan

    Although Ladybug is my fav, I must say this one hits home! Ricco, you spoke to my heart! Keep them coming 🙂


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