College of Southern Maryland
Division of Languages and Literature
8730 Mitchell Rd.
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Poem by Sherbooke Lea Carson
Twenty years ago you told me that I would write
“the Great American Novel” some day.
I wrote it in the smiles I’ve left on the faces of strangers.
I wrote it in the scars I carry on my arms.
I wrote it in fingerprints left on an NICU incubator.
I wrote it in tears that fell to meet an ocean of salt water.
I wrote it with my knees and forehead buried in the sand.
I wrote it in the soil of every garden I have planted.
I wrote it in the side-line hug offered on strike three.
I wrote it in dinner pots that burned as we danced in the
I wrote it in finger-painted pictures proudly displayed on my
I wrote it in doggie kisses when I’ve been away too long.
I wrote it on the bridges I’ve burned and built along the way.
I wrote it in the capture-and-release of dreams and fireflies.
I wrote it in my heart that now travels the world in three
I wrote it in the eyes of the one that I call Home.
This is the first opportunity I’ve had to reflect with pen in hand.
And yet, the language that you gifted us, has found me
For a vocabulary far greater than mine.
With blank paper and pen in hand—I carry the Great
inside of me.
And I will continue writing it
Because you told me that I could.