jamie elliott keith




She stands in kitchenís quiet dusk,
Lulled by nightly routine:
The winding down of a day
Filled with familial duties.
The damp dishcloth chafes her chore worn hands.

The musty smell of bookish pursuits
Tickles the nostrils of her memory:
Rustle of pages and scratch of pen were then the nightly routine.
She diligently followed scholarly footsteps
Never wandering from the trail, but beckoned at
By phantoms of the road not taken and of those ahead.
Putting on several pairs of heavy socks, if necessary,
Or squeezing in swollen feet,
She tried to put herself in otherís shoes, to understand.

Her experience was bound by words. Inky characters,
Held at armís length on bound bits of paper,
Were her excitement, her tears.
The pages looked so black and white.
Knowing virtue was its own reward,
She had followed, and gladly, the familiar precept.
She had learned her lessons well;
Her answers were correct.

She gazes out the darkening kitchen window,
Picks out the outline of todayís play:
Plastic arrows strewn like straws cross the lawn
And further out the unblinking bullís eye and wonders
If her perfect marks have missed their target.

Jamie Elliott Keith makes her home in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she works, raises a family and finds much inspiration for writing.


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