Peer Review by Josephine O'Grady (United States)

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Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

By: Cheychey Hemingway


PROMPT: Borrowing Voice

Mama


 

Some days, like today

and yesterday and probably

tomorrow-all my missing gets jumbled up inside of me.

 

You know honeysuckle talc powder?

Mama used to smell like that. She told me

honeysuckle’s really a flower but all I know

is the powder that smells like Mama.

Sometimes when I miss her real bad

I go to the store and ask if they have it.

They say

Yes we do have it.

so I ask

Can I smell it to see if it smells the same?

They let me smell it after rolling their eyes and shaking their head.

Those are the times when I feel

that Mama is alive again.

Those are the times that I remember

when she used to laugh at my bad jokes

and when she hugged me so tightly

I felt like I couldn’t breathe,

right before I got away.


Since Locomotion is literally a book of poems, I used the first seven lines. 


Peer Review

The second stanza, where the honeysuckle powder is mentioned, is the strongest part of the poem in terms of voice. Because the girl misses her mother so much, and that is how she remembers her mother. To remember her and smell her scent again and again, she goes to the store and asks to smell the honeysuckle powder. So the story plot is that she misses her mother, and the honeysuckle powder is the flesh on the story.


The style is simple. Descriptive words are used, but not too many, and that's how it stays simple. I would describe the tone as calm, but not flat; on the contrary, very much alive. If this makes sense, it sort of sounds like a river. It doesn't move fast or slow, but it's always moving.


Reviewer Comments

I like that you used poetry instead of a chapter book to write
your response to this prompt. You do a beautiful job keeping the tone of the poem after you have written the author's seven sentences, and it is time for you to take over. I never would have guessed that this piece was half written by the author, and half written by you, if I had not read the prompt.
I hope you publish some of your own poetry on this site, I would love to read it!