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Apr 2018
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 22, 2018)

College English class with Ms. Cook.
We’re reading Pynchon and Faulkner and Silko.
The class is full of women and I would sit in the back,
only read chapters the day after discussions
so I wouldn’t miss anything
and never once stepped into the ring.

Those women, they were like surveyors
of what was coming ahead.
I remember the one who said
read Gertrude Stein like listening to rain.
These were no dorm girls
lounging in common rooms
waiting for boys.

Three black women sat up near the front.
They talked about jobs and sometimes even kids.
One white pregnant woman sat ahead of me
to the left, looking very suburban.
All of them took inordinate interest
in the meanings
of Chopin and Anderson.

And that amazed me.
Their lives amazed me.
No end scene with a day job.
No utterly domestic montage.
They wanted to be there and so they were
in a class that would never lead
to a job or a baby.
They were entirely enthused about V
and The Awakening and Ceremony.
This wasn’t transitions and dues;
it was investments and returns.

This was the year of the big predicted
earthquake along the New Madrid.
My class would not be cancelled
over news hysteria, so I sat at my desk
slightly unnerved and mused
about my exit strategy through the window.
The women kept talking their animated talk
about Light in August or Winesburg, Ohio
and the earthquake never came.

And yet it kinda did.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michelle after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michelle poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31.

Story about the earthquake that never was:
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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