Not My Poem to Write<br>Lee Kottner
project name

Not My Poem to Write
Lee Kottner

Not My Poem to Write

Lee Kottner


Four hundred years

of subjugation, denigration,

and trauma

passed down in the womb,

even the achievers, crippled

before they start.

So much righteous anger.

So much frustration.

Too many tears.

But that’s not my poem to write.


How would Seamus do it?

He would say

write about The Troubles

by writing about a girl

dead in a bog

by her own people’s hands

for a thousand years.

But those are not my Troubles,

not my poem to write.


How do I fold

my dumb luck,

my roads taken

because there were no

barricades for me

into a container

to hold all the lives

of young black men

and children

when literal jails

and graves

and metaphoric prisons

called schools

already hold them?


That’s not my poem to write.

It never will be.


And yet I must write, and

the words I have

are not enough

to stop a bullet

to douse any flames

to make love grow.

So maybe I should

feed them to the growing fire, too.


Burn baby burn.