From Those Who Came Before – Shawn Aveningo Sanders

I am
            illegal gator ankle-straps
            matching handbag
            parading down Columbia Street
            in the boot-heel of Missouri.

            straw fedora, clip-on bow tie,
            puffing on a pipe
            filled with cherry tobacco,
            smoke tickling the blackbirds.

I am
            Chipped piano keys
            on Grandma’s upright Wurlitzer,
            middle-C clicking
            like her Ball jar of gallstones.

            The grandfather
            I never met,
            standing tall, stoic
            his secrets kept safe behind
            an ailing heart that quit too soon.

I am
            Aunt Nadine’s
            shoebox of poems tied with ribbon;
            Aunt Helen’s
            full bosom in a starched white blouse;

            Uncle Denny’s
            wanderlust, guilt for leaving.
            Aunt Carol’s
            doll hidden in a dresser drawer.

I am
            sarcasm and smarts,
            his spreadsheet balancing
            indiscretions and sensibility.
            smudged lipstick on her teeth
            and the strength to carry on
            with a smile.

Shawn Avenigo SandersShawn Aveningo Sanders is a globally published, award-winning poet who can’t stand the taste of coconut, eats pistachios daily and loves shoes … especially red ones! (’s work has appeared in over 100 literary journals and anthologies. She’s a Pushcart nominee, Best of the Net nominee, co-founder of The Poetry Box®, managing editor for The Poeming Pigeon®, and was named Best Female Poet-Performer in Sacramento News & Review Reader Poll in 2009. Shawn is a proud mother of three and shares the creative life with her husband in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.