My inkwell spilled —
its contents bled
blue-edged circles onto the
yellow-flowered cotton sash
that accented my 15-year-old
waistline like an engagement ring
around a bony finger.  Folks said
the chocolate milk I drank
made me unhealthy.
They also said my poetry would not
amount to much.  They meant well.
The flowered sash no longer fits,
and I haven’t needed a doctor
since Granny treated the barbed wire cut
on my arm with juice
from a black walnut hull.
Today, I read my poetry at the White
House.  Other guests included
international poets and folks
from home.

c Copyright, 2000, Freeda Baker Nichols

This poem is fiction. I’ve not read poety
at the White House.  Maybe, someday–
a poet’s dream, perhaps?

Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas Anthology

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