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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 31, 2016.
About this Poem 

“This poem is pretty major on clarity. I guess right this second I like how, perhaps in fidelity to its claims, it doesn’t scan. Or does it?”
—Olena Kalytiak Davis

I Was Minor

In this life,
I was very minor.

I was a minor lover.
There was maybe a day, a night
or two, when I was on.

I was, would have been,
a minor daughter,
had my parents lived.

I was a minor runner. I was
a minor thinker. In the middle
distance, not too fast.

I was a minor mother: only
two, and sometimes,
I was mean to them.

I was a minor beauty.
I was a minor Buddhist.
There was a certain symmetry, but
it, too, was minor.

My poems were not major
enough to even make me
a “minor poet,”

but I did sit here
instead of getting up, getting
the gun, loading it.

Counting,
killing myself.

Copyright © 2016 by Olena Kalytiak Davis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Olena Kalytiak Davis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Olena Kalytiak Davis

Olena Kalytiak Davis

A first-generation Ukrainian-American, Olena Kalytiak Davis was selected by Rita Dove for the 1997 Brittingham Prize for her debut collection And Her Soul Out of Nothing.

by this poet

poem

with her unearned admixable beauty
she sat up on the porch and asked for (f)light;
answerable only to poetry—
and love—to make it thru the greyblue night

blew smoke into words and even whiter ghosts
that could see what others in this broad dark
could not: she set to make of nothing

poem

O my Love sent me a lusty list,
Did not compare me to a summer's day
Wrote not the beauty of mine eyes
But catalogued in a pretty detailed
And comprehensive way the way(s)
In which he was better than me.
"More capable of extra- and inter-
Polation. More well-traveled -rounded

poem
Maybe we you us
But not everyone except
Everyone else seemingly set
One could romanticize the shipbells
Out of somebody else's grocery, sex shopping, life cleaning, bills 
Of sail. When they had fresh grapefruit it was nothing like you not having
Scurvy, with or without the vodka. Your friends 
Did they still