I am 9 and discovering poetry
For the first time.
"Hope is a thing with feathers," I read
And imagine the words tripping off the page, plummeting,
A baby bird pushed from the nest. The ground rises up to meet them
But then an air current, a breeze called hope,
Catches them in its gentle arms
And carries them, exultant, soaring toward the sun.
I am nine and poetry is a thing of joy.
I am twelve and poetry is a lifeline
A thing to cling to in the storm of middle-school hormones
To drown out the sea of voices saying
That I am not smart enough, not pretty enough, not hard-working enough,
Somehow just not enough to hold my head with pride.
"You are terrifying, and strange and beautiful," I read,
And I lift my chin high, level my gaze,
Walk with the confidence of Moses parting the sea.
I am twelve and poetry is an affirmation, a one-person nation
Where the flag is the color of my eyes.
Poetry is a fortress.
I am 15 and learning what it feels like
To lie in the long grass at night and count stars
Dreaming of someone's voice, of their lips on yours.
I read Pablo Neruda, "I want to do to you
What the spring does to the cherry blossoms"
And I feel myself unfurling into the warm April air
Reaching out towards the light.
I am 15 and poetry is love.
I am 18 and looking towards the future
Hoping, dreaming, searching
Taking tentative steps towards adulthood,
Scratching tentative words into a battered notebook.
I am working through life one line at a time
Compiling cautious stanzas
About what it is to be young, half adult, half child,
All daughter, all sister, all student
All poet. Because I am 18 and poetry is