Get on your feet. Look around. Pray that you won’t trip over my little tricks.
Speak loudly. Give every syllable the same space in the air that they have on the page.
Take a breath, slow down— let my words get comfortable with your voice. Let them lay on your tongue and nod to the way you’re trembling like a backbeat.
Don’t let that tremble take a front seat. If my words collide instead of settling inside the thoughts of the people sitting in folding chairs in front of you, put the bruise on them, not yourself.
Say my words with weight. Remember that they carry the words of other women before me who were told to put their pens down before they tore a tendon. To spend more time curling their hair than deciphering Dickinson. To stop thinking too much so they don’t burn out, because who else would fold the laundry or fry the chicken?
Be my typewriter. Stamp each letter in the air. Those words may not be yours, but you are my ink. And I do not exist without you.
And when the voice in your head says that you aren’t worthy, well hell, I’m only a worker, a wordsmith, a woman, but I think you’re a downright wonderful, one-of-a-kind collection of two hundred and six bones, seventy-eight organs, and seven trillion nerves, and I wouldn’t want anyone else reading my poetry.