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American Life in Poetry

Contrary to the glamorized accounts we often read about the lives of single women, Amy Fleury, a native of Kansas, presents us with a realistic, affirmative picture. Her poem playfully presents her life as serendipitous, yet she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging loneliness.

At Twenty-Eight

It seems I get by on more luck than sense, not the kind brought on by knuckle to wood, breath on dice, or pennies found in the mud.

I shimmy and slip by on pure fool chance.

At turns charmed and cursed, a girl knows romance as coffee, red wine, and books; solitude she counts as daylight virtue and muted evenings, the inventory of absence.

But this is no sorry spinster story,

just the way days string together a life.

Sometimes I eat soup right out of the pan.

Sometimes I don’t care if I will marry.

I dance in my kitchen on Friday nights, singing like only a lucky girl can.

 

"At Twenty-Eight" by Amy Fleury is reprinted from Beautiful Trouble, Southern Illinois University Press, 2004, by permission of the author. The poem was originally published in Southern Poetry Review, Volume 41:2, Fall/Winter 2002. This weekly column is supported by the Poetry Foundation, the Library of Congress and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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