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She’s a poet, said my friend
a Capital P Poet – the real kind
A Poet with awards
that also begin with a capital P
I, said my friend, am not a poet

I wonder, if I were to ask the capital P Poet
what she would say–

would she say she was a poet
or would she shrug, blush
demur that she just writes a few poems.
and is happy people like them.

She would not claim the qualifications
nor meet the requirements in our minds.

I remember the first real Poet I ever met
in the little library of Franklin School
Her long curly hair and bright-colored shawl
Her bangles tinkled on her arms
as she punctuated her words
with so much motion.

She came to the school every week that year
The New Jersey Poet Laureate (So Many Capitals!)
and helped us write our selves
in rhyming couplets
the most appropriate form for 3rd graders.

I wanted long curly hair and bangles but
my mother said my short pixie cut was so much easier for her
I learned that poetry was not convenient.

I wanted bangles that announced my movement with soft peals
My teacher said that was too distracting in class
and I learned that poetry was too loud

I wanted to make art beyond iambic pentameter
and I learned that I was supposed to follow the rules.

But still I tried to listen, to write
extending my need to please to her, the Poet
begging for her attention with unique rhymes
living for the words
there is some good things going on.

It was later that year, summer break
the produce section
the wild hair clipped up in a neat bun
shawl exchanged for a matching sweater set
Was it her?
it was.
She spoke to me, my mother
there in front of the rutabagas.
Praising my work
telling us about her day job
as a bank teller.
She just writes poems
to be happy
and such an honor to teach us her poems, her passion

But even Capital P Poets have to eat.