Thursday, June 1, 2017


By Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

A 2000 year old plant, protected by law, the largest collection
outside Namibia at the Georgia Botany Greenhouse
where Spring 2016 someone shouted, you gotta come see this!
where "this" meant a student worker's oversight to raise the beds or water the red sand. Whomever it was, "The Plant Man" in charge hasn't arrived at forgiveness.

I took 2 peases
of your jewelry. Wy
I took it is because you wear
pretty jewelry
and it makes
me feel a lot
bad for what
I took from.

My 6 year-old daughter's friend wrote, on her mother's orders, when the girl revealed stolen necklaces hidden for months behind a chair in her room. "Stolen" might be too strong a word for the cheap, costume pieces mimicking garnet, lapis. I'd hardly noticed them gone.

Who hasn't treasured then regretted something they shouldn't have done, hidden it in a room's corner?

I was just like that once, flushing one too many baby wipes down the toilet causing $27,000 in flood damage; or tangled in bedsheets with a boy calling in "sick."

The poet says all poems are about sex or death
and if not sex, then love; if not death
then loss. Forgiveness is a little death,
losing anger's leathery ribbon leaves, the false belief that what's precious can be preserved.

I will never taka anything agian.

Her promise, a fragile scratch on vellum paper,
destined to be broken.

MELISA (Misha) CAHNMANN-TAYLOR is the author of three books: Imperfect Tense (poems), Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre, and Arts-Based Research in Education. Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia and poetry editor for Anthropology & Humanism, she directs National Endowment for the Arts "Big Read" programs and an annual poetry series. Her research, teaching, and service concern emerging and creative engagement in public (bi)literacy education.

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