By Adrienne Su b. 1967 Adrienne Su
The trouble was not about finding acceptance.
Acceptance was available in the depths of the mind
And among like people. The trouble was the look into the canyon
Which had come a long time earlier
And spent many years being forgotten.
The fine garments and rows of strong shoes,
The pantry stocked with good grains and butter—
Everything could be earned by producing right answers.
Answers were important, the canyon said,
But the answers were not the solution.
A glimpse into the future had shown the prairie
On which houses stood sturdily.
The earth was moist and generous, the sunlight benevolent.
The homesteaders dreamed up palaces and descendants,
And the animals slept soundly as stones.
It was a hard-earned heaven, the self-making
Of travelers, and often, out on the plains,
Mirages rose of waterfalls, moose, and rows of fresh-plowed soil,
But nobody stopped to drink the false water.
Real water being plentiful, they were not thirsty.
A few made their fortunes from native beauty,
Others from native strength, but most from knowledge,
As uncertainties in science could be written off to faith.
Faith was religious and ordinary life physical,
And spiritual was a song that had not yet arrived.

Adrienne  Su, "Adolescence" from Sanctuary. Copyright © 2006 by Adrienne Su.  Reprinted by permission of Manic D Press.

Source: Sanctuary (Manic D Press, 2006)

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Poet Adrienne Su b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Activities, Jobs & Working, Travels & Journeys, Social Commentaries, History & Politics


Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Su earned a BA from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and an MFA from the University of Virginia. She is the author of the poetry collections Middle Kingdom (1997), Sanctuary (2006), and Having None of It (2009). Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and residencies at the Fine Arts Works Center and The Frost Place.
Commenting on her work for the National Endowment . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Activities, Jobs & Working, Travels & Journeys, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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