by Angela La Voie

Most of the lines are curvy, even with angles of limbs, energy,
except for the nose I get from my mother’s mother.
It’s small and straight, just flares at the end.

I like to hold my spine straight,
shoulders back and down, but even then
there’s that curve at the spine’s base.

You’ll more often find me smiling than frowning.
Often I’ve worn my blonde locks in a bob,
but look better with my hair shoulder-length.

Days find me bent at my cherry desk
forming questions about the graphite strappy sandals
I wore dancing in New York, a bowl of green apples, or

the human condition. I compose questions;
my pen, my computer—they deliver poems, essays,
meanderings. I write less often at night.

You might draw me with my two dogs,
black and tan, both convinced my chief purpose
is to rub their chests, pat their bellies.

You might draw my feet pressing the sand
at the sea’s edge, or callused and blistered from hiking.
These feet, they once climbed a 14er.

So many poses from which to choose,
there’s me, standing on a step,
tilting slightly up to kiss my husband at eye level.

What I relish most about me now:
my capacity for love and the sparkly knowing look
that’s followed me in pictures since girlhood.

That might run a bit sappy; I wouldn’t risk that
when younger. But that was before I understood
life’s wealth, that the rest is just pleasure.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Often I begin a poem with a line or an image that’s been following me. I proceed from that impulse until I find what the poem is about it. Then I create a shape, find the rhythm, remove the clutter. After that, I allow some time to find what’s missing and build texture.

IMAGE: “Shoe bright, shoe light, first shoe I’ve seen tonight” by Andy Warhol (1955).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A former journalist, Angela La Voie’s stories have been published in The Chicago Sun-Times, Detroit Free Press, The Dallas Morning News, on, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction and poetry at Antioch University Los Angeles. Recent essays have appeared in Skirt! magazine and Catharsis Journal.