Sonnet Upon What I Am Not by Rita Quillen

Sonnet Upon What I Am Not

I am not winged or gilded or graceful
or a decoupaged box of childhood happy.
I hold no keys to heaviest doors,
no maps to caves or graves or pathways.
My invitation to sing long lost,
I am no scaly siren on the cliffs,
luring admirers with hypnotic trills.
No one calls on the white courtesy phone.
My name’s nowhere in parade confetti.
No chariot stops to offer a ride.
I tell myself I’m not a ghost or smoke
alone in woods or traffic, trapped by words.
I almost write I am no one’s mother
but for another thing I am not: liar.

Rita Quillen’s new novel WAYLAND, a sequel to HIDING EZRA, published by Iris Press in 2019, is the March 2022 Bonus Book of the Month for the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Kings Book Club. She also has a new and selected poetry collection, SOME NOTES YOU HOLD, (Madville Press) published in 2020.. Her full-length poetry collection, The Mad Farmer’s Wife, published in 2016 by Texas Review Press, a Texas A & M affiliation, was a finalist for the Weatherford Award in Appalachian Literature from Berea College. One of six semi- finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, she has received three Pushcart nominations, and a Best of the Net nomination in 2012. She lives, farms, writes songs, and takes photographs at Early Autumn Farm in southwestern Virginia. Read more at

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