even in my prime – a poem

We recently came across this original poem by Ashley Hammel, fellow academic mama, and felt the urge to share it with our readers. Thank you, Ashley, for sharing!

i am no great beauty.
even in my prime, I was
cellulite and large thighs
horse teeth
the nose of my father’s father
(the failed architect, lost to the drink)
lined forehead from my early teens
crows feet, stretch marks
elongated foot bones and wide palms,
caught at strange angles and too loud
for great beauty.

but my breasts sustained children and
my arms coaxed lovers back from the brink of death.

my long feet found balance when I thought I could not stand.

my hands have made bread
bound books
strapped wounds
touched my father as he died
carried water through the foothills of the desert
broke the noses of marauders
& have written,
& have written.

my lips have carried stories that have brought the light out,
they have sang songs and spoke truths to crowds that swelled
and they have carried meaning in their silences well.
they have given love to many, in many different ways.

I am no great beauty,
but my eyes have witnessed power in unlikely places
and have salted the earth from loss
and still see through terrible fogs.

I am no great beauty but
my house and history are stacked
with beautiful things that I have made
that would break your heart,
and I have made a child who
will run to you to comfort when
he sees that you are crying,

and I begin to believe
that beauty is
the thin, strong line we use

to take the heads
from women who will change things.

Ashley Hammell has taught english, drama, social issues and most recently, how to effectively keep your mittens on while walking home from school. This poem fell out of one of her old notebooks when she repossessed it from her grabby 4 year old. You can find her trapped under her last baby, on her third coffee. She answers to askhouseofash@gmail.com

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2 Responses to even in my prime – a poem

  1. Darlene Beckwith Brown says:

    Talented writing Ashley.

  2. Zach Little says:

    I loved the poem! Thank you for sharing it.

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