More poems

Another poem I wrote, inspired by our teacher pleading for us not to turn in poems we wrote in high school. I tried to make the footnotes form another poem. Not sure if it works though. Here it is:

What This is Not

This is not a poem I wrote in high school
with one syllable rhymes to words
like heart/tart
references to brokeness
teddy bears with flat glass eyes
dusty teacups that will bide
an eternity.*

This is not a poem I wrote in college
after discovering patchouli and tabouli.
Responsible for a plant for the first time
I killed it with neglect and wrote
a poem comparing the dried, brittle spikes
in such phallic terms
my face turned red when we workshopped it,
the "hard, fecund root withering
to a tiny shell of itself..."**

This is not a poem I wrote in my twenties
for a spoken word contest.
I wore a scarf on my head, read
a poem about recovery.
Later, someone approached me
asked me how long I had been in remission.
I stuttered, trying to explain that for me
recovery meant no longer sleeping
with every bartender who showed
me any interest.***

This not a poem I wrote in my thirties
I didn't write poetry at all, sticking
instead to pure copy, corporate
speak about efficiencies, time
saving mechanisms, bottom lines,
trying to torque sentences
into greater meaning about the human condition.
I lived alone with cats and overdue
library books about single women with cats.

This is a poem I write in my forties
having learned to not expect
words to carry
the weight of my entire life
experience, instead
hoping to get somewhere beyond
vanity and despair
to a place of forgiveness
for the writers I have been.****

*This is from a poem I wrote in middle school…
**Ellipses added to show again the eternal nature of loss
***17 to be exact
****and others to follow