i wasn’t going to write a maya angelou poem
because i feel unworthy to eulogize
as
men fall mute
take vows of silence
over things less sacred than she

until the remembrance
of a late fall morning
returned to me

7th grade
first bell walls
covered with golden shadows
and whispering leaves
in eight o’clock hour sunlight

my english teacher played
a recording of her
reading
i know why the caged bird sings

when it was done
the class snickered at my weeping
breaking the quiet
they didn’t know they made a poet of me

in that 12 year old moment

i realized
what a woman
what a human being
could rise and overcome
to be
graceful ascendancy

if there is a loving god
it chose to speak
with the voice
of maya angelou