Thursday 11 January 2024

One Poem by Elizabeth Marino


Never Be Shamed for Your Survival


"Through it all, the strawberries have never stopped growing."

-- Mosab Abu Toha 


Silence, then the lid of the black dumpster lifted, the sharp indignant mewling demanding to be found

A tabby kitten in a dumpster

Never be shamed for your survival.


A leather chair at our woman's college, unbelievably unlikely -- my main job: 

to read closely, think and write. Lingering 

at the final page, Voltaire's Candide 

Never be shamed for your survival.


The children escaped. No visible harm.

See them smile, run, play. Don't look

at their averted eyes, the silences, the sleepwalking away from nightmares

Never be shamed for your survival.


Fourteen years pass. Life and my hand rubbed his black/gray ears, fur sparse  

Sharp indignant cries greet me at the door

That night, he nestles against my back

Never be shamed for your survival.

Elizabeth Marino is a Chicago poet, performer, and educator. She left university classroom teaching 12 years ago. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her books include Asylum (Vagabond, 2020) and the chapbooks Debris (Puddin'head Press) and Ceremonies (dancing girl press).

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