NPM – 11 of 30

The Reading

where I once felt at home
I now feel somewhat outside

I set myself apart physically
put up walls to keep others out
let them down a little
when I perform
not knowing if I’ve already
turned the audience off
for not being very social

I’m not a talker on the mic
I let my words express it all
I let my body sway
to my own rhythms

I quickly sit when I’m done
rarely expect anything back

tonight, I was called ‘modest’
while I’ll accept that modifier
from others, I wouldn’t use
it for myself, because who is
modest who calls herself modest

I leave before it’s over
slip out while the host
introduces the next poet
my guilt is fleeting

I’ve put in my time
and then some
it’s always in me
but I have to keep
my participation in check
to make sure
I still enjoy it