When Barbara Lauderdale sang the theme
From "Valley of the Dolls"
We lay our heads on our desks like dark, coy swans,
Like the hurt inside did not belong to us.
Then we cried for whatever hadn't happened yet
A room full of girls broken by the bliss
Of blind bitterness that hasn't seen its cause
But smelled it coming in the air
The way animals smell water
Coming or already there.
This bitterness so sweet it rocked us
And made us strong enough to sit up straight
And wipe our eyes and wait.
Angela Jackson, a recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, recently published And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New. Her plays include Shango Diaspora and Comfort Stew. For her creative work she has received awards, prizes and fellowships from such institutions as the Illinois Arts Council, DuSable Museum, Pushcart, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Chicago.