Age 8

Join The Dillydoun Review in celebrating National Poetry Month with

A Poem by Kelsey Erin Shipman

I’ll say to you
what no one ever did:
This is not your fault.

Yes, you pocketed those Tic Tacs while
your mother spoke with the cashier,
and you let slip a lie about your father’s
fortune to those kids at school.

And when your little sister asked
for a drink, you poured hot sauce in her Coke
then laughed as if it were April Fools’ Day
though it was only March.

Sure, you fingered your father’s quarters and
snuck a few in your backpack, like the day
you took another classmate’s foreign coin collection,
just the islands as proof of a larger world.

All lessons in regret —
attempts to right an injustice
you could not yet name.

Kelsey Erin Shipman is a writer and educator. She earned her MFA at Texas State University and is the founder of The Freehand Arts Project, a non-profit that brings creative writing classes Texas jails and prisons. Her work has been widely published in places such as The African American Review, The Austin Chronicle, Sagebrush Review, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She served as the 2013-2014 Writer-In-Residence at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, and was the recipient of the 2007 San Jacinto & Althean Literary Societies’ Grand Prize in Poetry. A native Texan, she loves big dogs and breakfast tacos.

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