I Clutched My Books to My Lovely Breasts
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I walked the long main hallway
of my high school every day.
The Beautiful People lined
the walls, watched me pass.
Languid girls in Glorias and Calvins;
King jocks who liked the girls
not like me. I was a brain,
a bookworm, a four-eyes;
they didn’t know my name.
I clutched my books to my lovely
breasts that no one saw or touched,
kept my eyes fast on the ground.
I am the pearl, pale and plain,
I wrote in a poem about myself.
But — when I was seventeen I began
to whisper when I walked down
that long and terrible hallway.
Just wait just wait just wait I said.
I began to look up, look outwards.
I spiked my hair a little, I read a lot,
my mind had wild, wild thoughts.
I was a girl on fire at seventeen
but no one knew, as I walked on by
clutching my books to my chest,
I had plans for the world one day.
I would burn my candle at both ends
and ah, my foes and oh, my friends,
just like Edna St. Vincent promised,
it would give a lovely light. And men?
Like Sylvia said, I would eat men like air.
And later on — I did. Oh yes — I did.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I had barely turned 18 in this photo and taken my first trip alone to visit friends in Germany, October 1982.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is for all the late bloomers, the wallflowers, the lit chicks, the caterpillars-not-yet-butterflies, the painfully shy. Things change.


Tricia Marcella Cimera
is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Look for her work in these diverse places (some forthcoming): Anti-Heroin Chic, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Foliate Oak, Failed Haiku, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, Wild Plum, and elsewhere. She has two micro collections of called THE SEA AND A RIVER and BOXBOROUGH POEMS on the Origami Poems Project website. Tricia believes there’s no place like her own backyard and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois / in a town called St. Charles / by a river named Fox. She reads a LOT.