Finding My Slogan
Has your stomach hurt since 5th grade, cue hate notes, best friend lists,
invitations never received? The whole story brushes up against the now
its noise so loud you crouch your shoulders up high and listen closer.
Where is Mary Jo now? Has her love of turtlenecks waned?
My love of the story grows as the man on the roof blows debris
watches me read poetry while the teens laugh right here in decade two
so fresh yet not unscathed. They too survived 5th grade
lay awake nights, had their very first Nyquil-infused end-of-the-world dream.
The world presses in: what are you going to be? How will you get there?
Does this C matter or that kid who stares at me every single day?
The way I unfold the words matter, how I push my mantra over
my kids’ tired brains, You are awesome, say it, I am awesome
I drive them crazy with my pushy persistence, my breathing fabulous love
with too much talking but so much wanting
wanting them to avoid the tailspin I trapped myself in
the malaise, the uncertainty, the way Mary Jo looked at me and found me wanting
turned inward, not so easily swayed until this job required confidence
to come out of hiding, my tribe worthy of my own self-worth T-shirt
worn with conviction every single day.
About the Poet:
Nancy Schatz Alton is the co-author of two holistic health care guides, The Healthy Back Book and The Healthy Knees Book. When she’s not meeting deadlines or teaching writing, she writes poetry and essays and works on her memoir about her daughter’s learning journey. She lives in East Ballard/lower Phinney Ridge with her husband, a teen, a tween and two Havanese dogs. Find her blog at Within the Words.
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.