The Poet at 45

The Poet at 45

My son winding up to hit a ball off a tee,
I was crawling out of older motherhood
the way you back out of the tent or debark from a canoe,
careful not to disturb the sides or stand up too soon.
Adding distance between myself and the scattered contents
of a diaper bag, trailing Cheerios, wipes, fruit roll-ups,
as gingerly as my son charged ahead exuberant in a growing body,
I stepped into my office, where I’d relocated everything that was mine
and that couldn’t be lost or torn or shredded,
shut behind me the door of the room from which I’d once sought escape,
carrying the notebook downstairs to the chair, outside to the sun,
only now my eyes were on the door as if I was escaping something
by cornering myself in here, backs of legs hitting the chair
that rose up to catch me, the desk that offered up its surface
to a hand that started out small and neat, becoming bigger and more unruly
the way language does when it gets worked up and no one’s looking,
words weaving in and out, no more pretense of staying between the lines,
ignoring stoplights and signs, stripping gears coming out of the gate,
accelerating on straightaways, leaning into turns.


Alison Hicks’ forthcoming book of poems, Knowing Is a Branching Trail, won the 2021 Birdy Prize from Meadowlark Books, and was released in September, 2021. Previous books include poetry collections You Who Took the Boat Out and Kiss, a chapbook Falling Dreams, a novella Love: A Story of Images, and an anthology, Prompted. Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Gargoyle, Permafrost, and Poet Lore, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Green Hills Literary Lantern. She is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops.

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