Line by Line

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


This poem is about: 
My family


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