Island

The ghost of my future greed
Returns to gauntly taunt me,
flaunting her children, her PhD,
Gritting her teeth with loathe by degrees
against the stink of complacency,
and kicks the wounds that I begrudgingly
nurture.

Robbed of my ability to surmise,
to feel, to think at all, compromised!
I struggle to stab a candle surprise
into the pink rosebush, mamaw’s prize,
from which was broken through weeping eyes
the cuts of my discipline incised
couture.

She mocks my inkling success
and spits at my lack of a red dress,
resists my punitive duress,
“Forget the way intent digressed,”
my eloquence failing to impress
who should have been but did the test
Purge her.

– Alecia M. Shepherd, PhDumb (2018)

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