I keep running from the bogeymen on my shelf
who did bad things and wrote great poems. I try not to feel
them become erect with the word great.

I close my eyes and thumb past the award seals
that silence women I love. What a lie to be alive!
To come so close to greatness, so close it knows
your name, and survive.

Copyright © 2024 by Amanda Johnston. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 2, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.