Friday, May 2, 2014

Everyone Else...Revised

The opportunity to write and share poetry with amazing teachers and poets has truly inspired me. I wrote a poem and we workshopped it the second week of the workshop. I revised it and the revised poem is below. I'd love feedback. If you'd like to read the first draft of the poem, click here... 

I spent some time with the notes and suggestions from other teacher poets and here's my revised poem...what do you think?

At ten years old, I begged
Please! Mom PLEASE! I want a pair of Dr. Scholl’s…
just like everyone else!
Gripping my red Dr. Scholl’s
I carefully put them on
all day…..
blister my feet and cause me to trip.
I return to my flip-flops,
I’m not like everyone else…

My brown-bagged lunch
sits in front of me in the teacher’s room,
reaching in I grab a vitamin water and my peanut butter sandwich.
As I peel back the silvery foil I hear
An innocent voice in a room, crowded with familiar
Did your husband make your lunch?

The foil rips
and I smooth out the wrinkles,

Avoiding eye contact, I say
That would be remarkable...but I don’t have one.
The self-deprecating laugh doesn’t hide the pain,
Instead shines a spotlight
I’m not like everyone else...

Another table, another day,
another innocent question
So do you have kids?
My breath catches as I imagine saying Yes.
How I long to say yes…
and to tell stories of my kids and their antics,
to complain about no sleep and
shake my head while admitting that it’s all worth it…
Instead, I say No.

But it doesn’t tell the whole story…
The story of how I spent a year preparing to adopt a child
The story of how I came within weeks of adopting a precious little boy
instead my hands, my hugs, and my heart remain empty
for now

Blistered feet, empty hugs
Mementos of my story
Not like anyone else…


  1. I get a clearer understanding of how the first stanza goes with the whole poem. It ties the string, so to speak. I am wondering if you claim your story because you used all caps with MY STORY. Do you own it and think you are OK even though it is not anyone else's story? The words 'blistered feet, empty hugs" make me feel sad and I want to shout that you are OK to be who you are. I'm not sure if that is what you want to say here, though. Also the structure of the last stanza is smaller. Maybe somehow let us know that your story is not finished yet. That you are still seeking and opening your arms to possibilities.

  2. I think the shift from "I'm not like everyone else" to "Not like anyone else" works, Michelle. The change signals growth and acceptance within you to embrace your individuality. I also like how you bring the "blistered feet" back from the beginning, tying it all together. I'm sorry I missed today's session, but I'm looking forward to meeting you tomorrow!

  3. Michelle,
    There is a clear pathway from the first stanza to the last with much more power in your words. You changed the look and feel of the poem in this final rewrite. The repetitive phrase, I’m not like everyone else... works well and moves beautifully to the last thought where you are lingering, allowing the reader to wonder what the future holds for you. I can see that you spent considerable time mulling over the comments before you came to this final piece of poetry. I am impressed by what you accomplished.


Please share your thoughts. I love comments!