Property Dispute

by Michele Lee

Words, annoying when first heard,
took a lifetime to reveal their worth.
You are no one’s property, is what she said,
after seeing a possessive slogan, claiming
that I was property of my first boyfriend,
proudly displayed on my just made pin,
attached to my shirt.

Rolling eyes at the stern one
who was not a favorite,
waiting for my lecture to end
and half-listening to her dispense
a verbal spitting that held no merit.

Words, tolerated while staring into her angry eyes,
brushed aside, laughed-off, then silenced.
A buried lesson that would have remained forgotten
if not for a random poke from another sharp pin.
Suddenly a youthful memory of her rebuke was set free.
She was right, the one who tried to make me see.
I am no one’s property –
not on that sixth grade carnival day
and not with the passing of four decades.

Ms. Dermer was her name – my sixth-grade teacher who tried to make me see. She had short dark hair, wore cat-shaped glasses, and drank too much coffee and although she was too stern for my liking, her lessons have stayed with me. She challenged me to be my own person and she encouraged me, in her direct and sometimes uncomfortable way. She often had me share my writing with the class and she believed my name would be seen on the cover of books. She didn’t say when. I may have missed her lifetime, but in my lifetime this will happen. I am currently proofreading the first draft of a novel, started last year, and narrowing down the editor search for my coming-of-age story. If you are interested in reading my writer’s journal, about my journey of turning a short story into a novel, visit my 50 Life Stories journal page. Writing, over the last two years, has offered me a sanctuary, similar to the one I found as a young girl, reading books. Thank you for visiting! Be well. Michele

“I will not be “famous,” “great.” I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”

Virginia Woolf
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11 comentarios sobre “Property Dispute

    1. Thank you very much, Cheryl. I have no doubt that many of your former students remember your lessons, academic and life. I also have a strong intuition that you had/have a kinder and gentler approach than my sixth-grade teacher. 🌻I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read my poem and contribute to the comments. 😊

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    1. Thank you, Jeff. I greatly appreciate your engagement with my writing today. 🙏🏻 Being read and supported by talented writers, such as yourself, is a gift. 💝 I love your phrase about people showing up for us. True. My teacher’s tone was off-putting, but ultimately, she wanted the best for me, as I did (still do) for my students. 😊

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      1. You’re most welcome, Michele. It’s always my pleasure. 💖 Thank you. I feel the same about you reading me, especially when you leave me wonderful comments about poetry trees. 🌳😁 I completely understand about your teacher, and I know you do show up for your students everyday. ☺️

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