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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 writer and poet. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, 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 is the author of four poetry collections: Helen Takes the Stage: The Helen Keller Poems (Pudding House Press); The Green Light (Finishing Line Press); The Uppity Blind Girl Poems (BrickHouse Books), and Love and Kumquats: New and Selected Poems (BrickHouse Books, 2019). Wolfe has been awarded a Puffin Foundation grant and Writers grants from Vermont Studio Center. In 2008, she was a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writer Fellow. She is a contributor to the acclaimed LGBTQ paper The Washington Blade.

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