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By Nikki Grimes

I come home,
feet about to bleed
from angry stomping.
“Boy!” says Mom.
“Quit making all that racket.”
But what does she expect
when, day after day,
haters sling words at me
like jagged stones
designed to split my skin?
I retreat to my room,
collapse on the bed,
count, “One. Two. Three…”
When I get to ten,
I snatch up journal and pen,
flip to a clean page,
and unload my hurt, my rage
’til I can breathe, again.
Letter by letter,
I rediscover
my power to decide
which words matter,
which words don’t,
and whose.
Calm, now, I remember:
I get to choose.


Source: Poetry (March 2021)

  • Activities
  • Living
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Nikki Grimes
Nikki was born in Harlem in 1950. At the age of 13, she gave her first poetry reading, at the Countee Cullen Library, a block away from where she was born. She has won numerous awards, including the 2003 Coretta Scott King Award, given each year by the American Library Association to an African-American author and illustrator “for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions.” In 2006, she won the National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. See More By This Poet

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