Humility is limp,
impotent as blanks in a musket
when she shoots to her seven year old feet.
Her sky faded eyes are softer than candlelight,
but there is no timidity
in her Mars colored cheeks.
She abandons her lunch, flattens her hands
on the table and does not leave room
for race or age, gender or station when she asks,
Miss Walker, will you marry me?
I’ve eaten more laughter than tears
after teaching twenty-eight years.
I take another bite of it,
disguise what I am chewing.
“No, I can’t marry you. I am too old.”
Seven years have made her determination
strong like the Golden Gate’s crimson legs.
We can work this out and have a baby name Bob.
How I wish we could work things out—
war, famine, poverty, differences.
Hate, harsh words, and cruelty
would fizzle like Alka-Seltzer.
We cannot put these dark things in a glass,
pour them in the Mississippi’s muddy shoes.
Nor can I be her wife.
She sees only the simplicity of love.
I will take her light, lock it in the cabinet
next to my desk and leave the key dangling
for the world to grab hold.
This poem also appears in Loretta Diane Walker’s book Word Ghetto published by Bluelight Press.
About the Poet:
Loretta Diane Walker won the 2016 Phyllis Wheatley Book Award for poetry, for her collection, In This House. She is a five time Pushcart nominee. She has published three collections of poetry. Her manuscript Word Ghetto won the 2011 Bluelight Press Book Award. She teaches music in Odessa, Texas. Loretta received a BME from Texas Tech University and earned a MA from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round. See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.