Coral? [15 Words or Less]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m very glad you’re here. 

Creepy Coral Design
Photo: Laura P. Salas

I took this pic in an airport a couple of weeks ago. Want to take a guess? I’ll reveal the correct answer (if I can remember exactly what it was) in next week’s post.

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. slime molds (they move in search of food!)
  2. effluorescence on our old basement walls
  3. “Life finds a way.” (Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park)

And here’s my first draft. I was really inspired by the thought that living creatures are almost all moving. Even plants and other things we don’t necessarily see move. (I love Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca Hirsch!)

life is motion


It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.)







31 Responses

  1. Tree branches or cracks in ice

    poem By Jessica Bigi

    Poison Ivy

    red stars in the forest
    Mom says never touch
    one bump two bump three
    itching crashing for mounts

    1. Jessica, my first thought was also of tree branches. I like the “one bump.”

    2. Oh, no! See what happens when we don’t follow Mom’s directions? :>) This is delightful and funny–but that pretty first line is still my favorite!

  2. Lately loss has been in the forefront. I am thinking a lot about how we heal, how we hope, how we become better through these hard times.

    Cracks in glass, in me
    Healing scars become beauty
    from inside to out.


    1. I love this! I’ve had my sappy December days lately as well and your poem just might add a little more healing to my scars! Thanks!

    2. This is powerful, Margaret. I have been thinking a lot about strength, cracks, breaks, healing, and power for a pb project I’m working on. I’ve been pondering the beauty of kintsugi, and your poem brought all this to mind, too.

    1. Rebekah, I love the cozy feeling of this, even while discussing the cold! It’s a whole little drama, in 15 words. Well done!

  3. Lovely image Laura. My first thought is definitely seasonal and fits well with one of the beautiful sights here in the mountains of western NC.

    Rime Ice

    Bare branches
    encrusted with frozen fog
    share their beauty
    from a myriad
    of colored lights.

    1. Oh, Martha, rime ice is one of my FAVORITE things in the whole world! I get to see it once every few years here in Minnesota–thank you for giving me a mental peek at it with your poem.

    1. Thanks, Michelle. This is lovely, too! The first two lines especially sparkle to me. They feel a bit stark and yet filled with beauty, like winter itself.

  4. Beautiful photo. It could be so many things-love the way your feet, fins, stem suggests that. I saw a delta.


    You journey from mountaintop
    through creek, stream, river
    rill, eddy, oxbow–
    then slip into sea.


    Groping in the dark of night,
    Wishing for a spark of light.

    In despair- where????

  6. First thought was ET teaching out a fingertip… no idea what would be at an airport that looked like this.


    Voices reach
    Like fingertips
    Miles closed
    Lightning fast
    You can be
    Almost there -
    Phone home.

    By Donna JT Smith

  7. I’m late to the party! What a beautiful photo and so many different interpretations! My brain went from lightning to trees to dendrites.

    Electrical impulses
    crackle in spectral colors
    dendritic lightning
    Birth of an idea

    1. I’m late, too. My internet was down all day! Love this, Molly! I always picture “brainstorms” just as you’ve described this.

  8. Clouds over the mountain,
    Frosted windowsill,
    Shadows and moonlit dancing tendrills
    relish Winter’s chill.

    1. Welcome, Sylvia! This poem feels so full and meaty–wonderful word choices. Hard to believe it’s 14 words! I especially love “tendrils” and “relish.”

  9. Oops. I forgot to write a poem on Thursday! Oh well, nice to stop grading papers and write something. 🙂

    Memories connect
    like twigs and branches,
    a life’s growth
    in ice and sunlight.

    —Kate Coombs

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