Shredder [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. 

Thank you, everyone who sent such nice thoughts of the death of our dog, Jackie. It’s been a painful week, and your touching notes have helped ease my distress.

Photo: Laura P. Salas

What do you think this is? This image makes me think of several things:

  1. fettucine
  2. my cheerleading days
  3. a ganglion

And here’s my first draft.


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






52 Responses

  1. LOL. That’s a great punchline to your poem. This photo makes me think of ribbon salad.And, it makes me feel silly.

    Which salad would you like today, ma’am?
    psychedelic ribbons garnished with spam.
    (no dressing, please)

  2. Love your first line, Laura! The shredder caught my imagination, too.


    Worksheets, homework, essays,
    all red-ink crisscrossed.
    Gathered, stacked and shredded-
    Confetti to be tossed!

    1. Oh, that’s good! I can’t even imagine how much paper .…maybe tons? has crossed a teacher’s path before retirement. Great concept and love that it’s confetti!

    2. I love this, too. Some day I’ll be throwing this confetti, but not yet.

    3. Oh, what a great idea for a retirement party! As a first grade teacher, I could have had a very colorful mixture with all that construction paper in my closet! (add in a bit of glitter…)

    4. What beautiful confetti! Your perfect title pulls it all together–I find titling poems to be such a bugaboo! Well done!

    5. Oh my goodness—soooooooo much paper–sometimes I feel like I’ll be swallowed up! What a great spin on a teacher’s relationship with paper!

    6. You have captured the joy of the last day of the school year and magnified it for the retirement party. Love that!

  3. Recently, a friend of mine posted a list of fun words. I’ve been dying to use them so here’s my silly draft.

    After their New Years Eve
    a kerfuffle
    of confetti spaghetti.

    1. Such delightful word play, Margaret, and you bring it all together beautifully. This is such fun to read aloud and to envision!

    2. Isn’t it fun just to play with words for the sheer joy of it? I adore confetti spaghetti!

    3. I am so glad I chanced upon your delightful word play. First I read with my eyes, then with my mouth and the sounds made me smile as they rolled off my tongue. Then I laughed out loud at the image of “confetti spaghetti.” Thank you, Margaret.

  4. #1: This is what came to mind immediately.

    Follow Your Heart

    When I was young
    I wondered
    Which road I would take
    There were so many.

    #2: And then this one emerged, probably due to my need for more structure (otherwise known as resistance and persistence)…

    Good or Bad

    Step out
    On the path
    Of most resistance
    And you’ll
    Be rewarded
    For your persistence.

    (one way or another — you WILL be rewarded…good or bad, LOL!)

    Happy New Year, All!

    1. I like your first poem, with the image of those tangled roads leading every which way.

    2. Haha! So true. The second one is catchy and I like it, but something about the voice of that first one… It really captures the awe and slight overwhelmingness of all the possibilities of life.

  5. Good morning 15 WOL community. I imagine a good part of our country is either digging out or getting slammed. Stay safe and warm. Laura, your poem fits perfectly. Love each and every line. I wore French braids for the first four years of my school days. Every morning I read books aloud to distract from the combing and pulling and braiding, ending with the colored ribbons to hide the rubber bands at the ends,

    Goodbye to Grosgrain

    French braids
    grades one through four
    fifth grade brings
    grown-up hair
    ribbons no more!

    1. Oh, oh! I love this, Martha especially as I have the same memory of my first four school years… only I didn’t read out loud. My brothers wouldn’t have stood for that.

      1. Thank you Alice. Actually I developed my love for books and reading from those years and my mother was responsible for that routine for both me and my younger sister. Our brother was just a toddler and couldn’t have cared less!!!! Funny thing is, the grosgrain was infamous for coming untied and mother would become so put out that no one thought to retie the bow before that year’s school picture was taken. I have those memories in black and white, not the pretty colors in Laura’s picture (even though the grosgrain always matched clothes).

  6. So many fabulous, creative entries today! I immediately thought of pasta gone rogue when I saw the picture but a different, darker poem emerged as I wrote. And, wow!, I had a really tough time with the 15 word limit today!
    I’m not loving the rhythm of it, but here’s my first draft:

    Once we were trees…


    Then confettied into
    rainbow flight
    giddy delight

    Til euphoria passed…

    Now we’re trash

    1. Molly, I love this. The cycle of paper, from trees and nature into celebratory confetti and then finally into litter. So many great specific words in here!

    2. This I love, even though it hurts to think about! I love trees…good thing I don’t give as much thought to the grass or I’d be crying about mowing the lawn, too! Somehow, trees are different, aren’t they?

  7. I like yours, Laura — it made me smile. 🙂

    All I can think of is mess–what’s left on the floor, refusing to be swept up which means needing to drag the vacuum cleaner out when you really don’t want to drag the vacuum cleaner out

    I know. Whine, much?!

    Party prep
    Puts pep
    In my step
    Til time to cleanup
    Then I just schlep.

  8. I really enjoyed your shredder poem. The ending line is great!

    The image made me think of confetti, celebrating, and tapeworms (EWWW!! They’ve always freaked me out). So I thought about how a tapeworm would feel this time of year.

    Parasitic Depression

    January is always gloomy
    For a parasitic roomie

    New healthy declarations
    Make for tenuous relations

    1. Oh my gosh, Rebecca. This is the perfect combination of grotesque and funny. Love it! Though I’m awfully glad I don’t have a parasitic roomie!

  9. Laura this picture immediately reminded of the colorful pinatas I would make for my kids birthday parties. Your Shredder poem was a delight to read.

    Piñata, piñata piñata,
    yellow, purple, and blue.
    Candy filled papery treasure,
    constructed of floury glue.

    1. I can just hear kids chanting or singing this at a birthday party, Jean. Terrific rhythm!

  10. frosty drizzles
    crisp crackles
    dragon breath
    toasting s’mores
    glitters of stars streaming
    new years night

  11. Well, speaking of teachers, I’ve been substitute teaching and some days are pretty crazy. (True when I was a regular classroom teacher, too!) Here’s my little stress poem.

    How do you untangle
    the intricate strangle
    of shout-slamming days,
    stop the wince-worthy brangle?

    —Kate Coombs

  12. Hmm, that didn’t post. Hopefully it doesn’t go up twice! I’ve been substitute teaching lately, and some days are pretty crazy. Of course, they were pretty crazy when I was a regular classroom teacher, too!

    How do you untangle
    the intricate strangle
    of shout-slamming days,
    stop the wince-worthy brangle?

    —Kate Coombs

    1. It was held for moderation because it was anonymous:>) I LOVE line two, Kate–boy, it puts me right there, and the words are so unexpected together!

  13. Tangled

    Tangled like
    A web of confusion
    waiting to meet
    our fate
    whatever that may be.

    Anne McKenna

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