Not my shame


for T.O Walker, author of “Not My Shame” (2016).


Not my shadow. Not my street.

Not my footsteps or my feet.

Not my single glaring light.

Not me. Not me.

Not mine.


Not my road to walk alone.

Not my family,

not my home.

Not my nowhere left to go.

Not my empty page


like snow.

Not my book with no words in it.

Not my song I will not sing it.

Not my path I will not walk it.

Not my giving up.


Not my child

with eyes like water.

Not my son and not your daughter.

Not my happy

ever after, never


not my love.

Not my story. Not my life.

Not the sound of

sleeping breath. Not my skin

and not my knife


but by my fist

and by my flame.

Not my silence.

Not my shame. Not the rain

that streams like tears


or winter skies

all bright with stars.