unable to prove

“If you would just try.”

disappointment in their eyes

defeated layers of books and papers

accustomed to going unnoticed

“Why can’t you be …?”

“Why didn’t you?”

just below the line

left far behind

deep sighs



© Ali Grimshaw

This poem is shaped like a bell curve to represent the people who have endured feelings of shame for not performing in a way that someone deemed as success.




Shedding Shame

Despair for the moment to come

willing my body to enter the room

a mountain of mortification on my back

facing those faces

being seen while craving camouflage.

Owning the me that showed up today

failure and intention,

with a disappointing lack of action.

While seeking an empty seat I am

investigating the ability to shed my skin,

to start fresh. Becoming

a blank slate that holds

not a bit of old chalk dust.

© Ali Grimshaw