Showcase Poetry – ‘Vaccination Day’ – A tanka poem by Elizabeth Gauffreau (lizgauffreau)

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Vaccination Day Tanka

perched on mother’s lap
two children unsuspecting
needle pricks to scar
tiny tabletop, wire-back chairs
root beer floats a mother’s love

♦       ♦       ♦

This tanka is another first, of sorts, because I let the form of the poem dictate the content. The impetus for writing about this experience was the day my brother and I were vaccinated for smallpox. Afterwards, our mother took us to an ice cream parlor (the only time I remember her taking us as children). She bought me a root beer float because I didn’t cry when I received my vaccination. She bought my brother a root beer float because he did.

I could not get this to work in the 5/7/5/7/7 tanka form. Nor could I get the other memorable part of the experience into the poem. The doctor did the vaccine on my brother’s upper arm in the customary place…

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