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Lynn Hoggard

God Told Me Not To

I said to my father,

just home from work,

who’d walked into the kitchen

and told me to pick up

my paper dolls,

lying strewn across the floor.


His reaction to my four-year-old

sass was to lean down, choose

a Betty Grable green lamé gown,

tear it in half, and let the pieces

float to the floor before my eyes.


Falling across dolls and dresses,

I gathered them to me, sobbing,

and carried them away.


A few things remain from that day—

     a deep sense of loneliness,

     a fierce stubbornness

          when God or my gut

          spoke to me,


    and all of my poems.

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