An Old White Woman

Not addicted   deranged

estranged from God

nor blind   deaf    lame

depressed autistic shamed

trans   bi-sexual   gay


Not deserted disowned

cast away from home

nor suicidal   homicidal

matri- patri- fratricidal


Not immigrant   minority

amputee refugee

nor survivor of

rabies   cancer   flood

avalanche of mud

poverty   abuse nor war


She has never flung herself

to shore from a life raft

on rough sea

taught a chimpanzee to read

nor raced a team from

Settler’s Bay to Nome


Just an old white woman


happy healthy debt-free

bereft of misery

whose father loved her

mother loved her

husband loves her   so   


too old to be a prodigy

too young to be a sage

well past middle age


she fits no niche

Joan Wiese Johannes

Joan Wiese Johannes has been widely published in journals/anthologies and has three chapbooks and a book of poetry. Her chap Sensible Shoes was the winner of the Alabama Poetry Society’s contest in 2009 and her full-length collection, Lamenting My Failure to Learn How to Tap Dance and Other Missteps will be published by Water’s Edge Press later this year. Winner of the 2011 regional poetry award from the Mississippi Valley Poetry Society, Joan has also received awards from Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Wisconsin People and Ideas, The HAL Contest, Free Verse, and English Journal.  She co-edited the 2012 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar and the 2019 Winter issue of Bramble with her husband Jeffrey.

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