“Poem for Myself” by Elizabeth Spenst

Elizabeth Spenst


after Gwendolyn Brooks & Lucille Clifton

Abortions never let you forget 
what it means to choose a life. 
Who you may be and who you could be. 
What is a few months, and what is forever. 
We talk about people like they 
could be separate from us. This life vs. 
that one, what is mine and what is yours. 
We are here only for each other—there is nothing else but time. 
And I say, if I am ever less than a mountain 
for myself, what could I seek to be for the ones who are coming? 
Selfish. We spend our whole lives explaining why we are this way.
Mountain breath. Baby blues. There is a space that is just for you. 

from Rattle #76, Summer 2022


Elizabeth Spenst: “My first year of college, I took a class on African American poetry with Elizabeth Alexander. My world opened up and blossomed into being, and I have been a poet ever since.”

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