"I've Never Written a Poem Before" by Irene M. Vallone

I’ve never written a poem before, and I’ve burned 

all the notebooks that say otherwise. I’ve deleted

the Word files and Google Docs that imply

I was once a different person. I went before a judge

and had my poems annulled, locked 

years of work in a courthouse closet.

I made myself forget the verses I’d stitched into my jeans,

painted foundation over the poems on my face,

grew the words out of my hair. I made my mother cry

when she learned I hated the poem she’d given me.

I shook my old self’s hand and pushed him into the heating grate.

We both nodded as he stared up at me, satisfied, 

because we knew it meant I could write this poem.