Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And Now I See . . .

     One of the ways we overcome our nervous shyness about our disabilities is by talking about them, and writing about them.  And by encountering the poetry of Kathi Wolfe.  I enjoy her work out-loud -- she is a frequent performer of her poems at local DC-area venues  -- and on the page.
     Kathi's "Blind Ambition" (in which she speaks of the monsters in arithmetic) is offered below; I first discovered this poem when it was posted by Split this Rock as poem of the week.  

       Blind Ambition     by Kathi Wolfe

        I'm in my seat,
       averting my eyes,
       those funhouse mirrors,
       from the numbers
       swimming across the blackboard.

        Figures are slimy
       monsters who slobber
       all over your picnic
       basket on the beach.
       I grab my white cane
       and run away from them.

        "If you were Helen Keller,"
       my teacher says,
       "you'd get a gold
       star in arithmetic."
       Her voice sounds
       like she's just
       met Prince Charming.
       "You would be a perfect
       young lady," she says.

        I don't want
       to make friends
       with fractions
       or skip rope
       with multiplication tables.

        I want to chase
       lightning bugs,
       pull my brother's hair,
       open up all the presents
       before the company
       comes on Christmas morning.

        I don't want to be any
       Goody-Two-Shoes Helen.
       I want to baptize
       my new sneakers
       in the mud.

"Blind Ambition" is in Kathi's chapbook, The Green Light (Finishing Line Press, 2013).  Kathi is legally blind. 

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