The Girl I Carried

Mayor

Indya Kincannon
mayor@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Poetry reading for Girls Inc. Elite Awards set for April 17, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled.

By Marilyn Kallet



The Girl I Carried

I carried a smart girl within
me for nine months,
a tiny baby, a bit more than four

pounds. Her best friend
as a toddler was a stray,
Mama Kitty, 

And in the high chair she
loved the notes that
opened NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

She flapped her arms and cooed
when the chimes heralded
the evening news.

Reader, she became an editor
and a musician.
But was she bold?

One day she came home
  from West High School
and said, “I can’t get a music education

here! I need to go away to school.”
She was fifteen.
At first I said, “You’re not going

Anywhere.” But she insisted.
And so began the
North Carolina School for the Arts,

And then Northwestern.
  She knew what she 
Needed to do.

Strong, too.
She practiced marimba
For hours on end,

Building the strength
In her arms
That made the music.

She drummed on snare
And bass, 
Cymbals

And congas, 
  At a time 
When girls were

Not supposed to
Play drums.
Leave the rhythm 

To the men.
Be nice.
Um, no thanks!

And she also studied
Journalism,
Worked for Columbus Alive

And then CNN news.
She corrected everyone’s
Grammar.

No mistakes on the names
Of world leaders.
The news was clear, thanks

To her. And to many women
Like her, like you,
Who stand up for their own

Music and that of others,
Who tell the news straight,
Get the names right every time.

So listen to the rhythm of your
Hearts and stand up
For smart women and girls

Everywhere. So that all of us
Can keep learning,
Young and old. 

Be bold enough to
Tell the truth, speak out
When something’s wrong.

We have each other’s back.
  I’ll stand up for you 
Any day, every day.

Sisterhood is powerful.
Never doubt it.
Strong women carry

Each other when
    We need to.
Smart women stay in school.

Bold women don’t
Let their voices
Get stifled. 

When I got pregnant,
  Another woman
Told me I would never

Have another carefree moment,
        Never write
Another song. She was wrong.

All the love in me grew
And grew,
Bolder. Together

We are stronger! 
Sisterhood is
One of the smartest,

Boldest 
Words 
We know.