April Eleventh


Quite indifferent and indecisive,
I signed up, or rather,
was convinced to sign up,
thinking, foolishly,
that I signed my name to watch the performance.
It is not often the audience signs up,
but the performers almost always do.
I signed up to perform.

Plenty of poems to choose from
still provided a difficult decision,
but I settled on one.
Eventually.

Too many years of denigration
had led to a store of confidence
when it comes to public speaking.
So as I walked up to the podium,
still in my softball uniform,
I only smiled.
Exhilaration coursing through my veins.
Excited for my audience to hear my voice.
Proud to stand alone and read my poem.

As the last lone echoed through the small room,
filled to capacity with only standing room remaining,
I felt the corners of my mouth reach the corners of my eyes,
a smile so bright, so wide,
I am certain I could never replicate it if I tried.

Each poet, both before me and after,
was more amazing than I had anticipated.
More lovely and heart-wrenching
than I could ever have imagined.
And with my smile, still brilliantly shining,
tears welled in my eyes,
constantly pushed to the brink of crying.

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