Published on Academy of American Poets (

I Was Minor

In this life,
I was very minor.

I was a minor lover.
There was maybe a day, a night
or two, when I was on.

I was, would have been,
a minor daughter,
had my parents lived.

I was a minor runner. I was
a minor thinker. In the middle
distance, not too fast.

I was a minor mother: only
two, and sometimes,
I was mean to them.

I was a minor beauty.
I was a minor Buddhist.
There was a certain symmetry, but
it, too, was minor.

My poems were not major
enough to even make me
a “minor poet,”

but I did sit here
instead of getting up, getting
the gun, loading it.

killing myself.


Copyright © 2016 by Olena Kalytiak Davis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is pretty major on clarity. I guess right this second I like how, perhaps in fidelity to its claims, it doesn’t scan. Or does it?”
—Olena Kalytiak Davis


Olena Kalytiak Davis

A first-generation Ukrainian-American, Olena Kalytiak Davis was selected by Rita Dove for the 1997 Brittingham Prize for her debut collection And Her Soul Out of Nothing.

Date Published: 2016-05-31

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