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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.

Added: Monday, July 14, 2014  /  From "The Green Light" (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Used with permission.
Kathi Wolfe

Kathi Wolfe is a legally blind, queer poet and writer in Falls Church, VA. Her work often deals with the intersectionality of being disabled and queer. She is a contributor to the LGBTQ newspaper the Washington Blade. Wolfe’s poetry has appeared in Poetry Magazine, The New York Times and other publications. She is a contributor to the groundbreaking anthologies QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology and Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Wolfe has been awarded Writer’s Grants by Vermont Studio Center and a Puffin Foundation grant. She has appeared on The Poet and the Poem, a public radio show, distributed by NPR satellite.

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