Shirley Alexander

(12-05-1953 / Somewhere under heaven, Georgia, USA)

Here In The Life Of An Unknown Poet


I am not the woman people envy
in her confident, got-it-all-together stride.
I am not that person who is called to offer prayer
in a gathering of Christians.
I do not sing like an angel, or paint beauty
into hungry and inspired artists’ minds.
I am not that woman. I’m not destined for dizzy fame
or breathless stolen kisses.

I am the woman who smiles at grasshoppers,
and lifts her face to smell rain.
I am the woman standing in the middle
of a muddy pasture with hay in her hair.
I am the woman who looses her giggles
in the quiet corners of inappropriate places.
I am the one who wants to chance wearing
purple with green, but chooses black.

I am the mother who knows a special child
is always on stage, and should dress accordingly.
I am the daughter and sister who visits a lonely hill
at midnight to confess my pain to headstones.
I am the jealous lover of time,
and all things I missed before heaven thrust me
wet, screaming, and angry into the unprepared
arms of my religious mother.

I am not someone you would remember
seeing on a sidewalk in Paris.
I am the woman who drops her papers
in the crowded hallways of life.
I leave bits of myself to be sorted
for future generations to read and wonder;
“Who was she, to find herself worthy
of a legacy of love and words? ”

(©2006)

Submitted: Thursday, January 29, 2009
Edited: Friday, April 19, 2013

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