Traffic Cones [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. 

Traffic cones
Photo: Laura P. Salas

Here’s a pic from a recent road trip. This image makes me think of several things:

  1. an airport runway
  2. a conveyor belt with all the candy pieces heading toward the big machine
  3. woodcut printing
  4. slalom skiing

And here’s my first draft. I ended up writing about an aircraft carrier! I didn’t have room, in 15 words, to really include much factual info, but I had fun reading about how planes land on aircraft carriers:>)

traffic cones 15wol

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







35 Responses

  1. Neat picture and poem–it made me think of flight too–someone heading towards a space shuttle launch or maybe towards a futuristic city.

    Pushing back nerves
    Boldly pushing on
    Steeling self
    For knife’s edged flight

  2. Oh, you determined pilot, you! Your flight is perfect. I like the landing. The word airport got me.

    That time
    gold morning
    pushed against
    night’s blue
    the airport
    was too soon

    1. Linda, this is lovely. Just enough concrete colors and setting to ground me for the emotional impact of the ending!

  3. Laura, congratulations on “Meet my Family.” Today, I definitely see an airport runway, except for the car. My brain (maybe because I’m left-handed, lol) recorded trash bins on the right and lighted Christmas candles on the left. Go figure!

    The Christmas Parade

    Early arrivals
    claim space
    final vehicle
    waved aside
    trash bins
    accept breakfast


    1. I love hearing what people see in the images. Your poem makes me see every big family gathering where the driveway fills up and people jockey for space and move cars around when folks have to leave :>)

  4. Poem By Jessica Bigi

    sorry that it a few words over

    Construction On The Highway

    Inching like caterpillars
    on a roller-coaster
    pump of gas slam of breaks
    slowdown dad
    I ‘ll spilled my shake

  5. My very first thought was that this looked like driving into a modernistic Disney World. From that came this:

    Future World looms ahead.
    Could Walt imagine
    What we would be
    At this time,

    1. Love the wondering here, Beth. The future is hard to imagine as change seems to happen more and more rapidly!

  6. Angle and tangle, love the way this reads. The building in the distance of your picture looked very industrial to me.

    Tires shudder on pitted concrete.
    Industrial chains sequester.
    I took the road more traveled.

    1. Jean, that first line is amazing. I can feel the shudder and feel/see the pitted concrete. Love that!


    Swerving neither left nor right,
    anticipating with delight,
    my long awaited goal in sight.

  8. There are a LOT of traffic cones on the roads in Utah, including on the freeway as you head into the southern part of the state. My brother’s joke is that the state simply stores the cones on the roads.

    Orange cones, where
    are you taking me?
    Is it somewhere I’ll really
    want to be?

    —Kate Coombs

    1. Ha! It’s like the detour signs that take you off your path and then never tell you where you’re supposed to actually go.

  9. I am trying to adjust to new progressive lenses–quite the light show in my periphery at night!

    New Glasses

    Pinpoint lights
    bend into colorful arcs–
    jeweled necklaces adorn every car
    speeding through the night.

  10. I am impressed with how much you fit into your poem, Laura. Love those first two lines especially. My eye went straight to the traffic cones in your picture.

    road construction
    multiple lanes
    squeezed into one
    speed dropping
    stress rising!

    1. Those last two lines say it all, Lauren. Randy now has a commute to work (he bused until he got this new job), and with winter and ice upon us, not to mention road construction, it is a super stressful way to start and end his day.

  11. Powerful pic Laura–so much is there to draw on, thanks! I like the echo between “angle” and “tangle” in your poem.

    twighlight warmth
    welcomes your time-warped
    roadtrip rendezvous.

    1. I love the echoes in yours, as well! warmth-warped, twilight-time and then all the lovely alliteration:>)

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