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"Present" by Kelli Simpson

There is too much. There is not enough.

If there is an in-between,

I don't possess the scale to calibrate that balance.

I am what I own, and what I own

owns me.

Not long before she died, my mama said to me,

"You are a really nice person."

The wonder in her voice,

as if recounting a recent revelation,

unwomaned me. Still, there's nowhere to be

but where you are when you're there.

And, let it be known that I was there and fully


I owned and was owned

till the earth scorched beneath my feet.

I loved and was loved until my heart left my body

and lay in the sick bed next to hers.

I was not found wanting.

In the end, I was not found wanting.

Kelli Simpson is a poet and former teacher based in Norman, Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in Lamplit Underground, Green Ink Poetry, One Art Poetry Journal, The MockingHeart Review, Remington Review, and elsewhere.

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