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I Confess – Alison Luterman

I Confess - Alison Luterman

I Confess – Alison Luterman

I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her
beaming peace like the North Star.
I wanted to ask, “What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years or how to live
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to
some knowledge that makes the earth turn and
burn on its axis—”
But we don’t request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”


This poem was selected as the winner of the Oil of Olay “Fine Lines” competition. It was also displayed on transit buses in Portland, Oregon, as part of the city’s “Poetry in Motion” program.


From Alison Luterman’s website:

“Alison Luterman is a poet, essayist and playwright. Her books include the poetry collections In the Time of Great Fires (Catamaran Press), Desire Zoo (Tia Chucha Press), The Largest Possible Life (Cleveland State University Press) See How We Almost Fly (Pearl Editions), and a collection of essays, Feral City (SheBooks). Luterman’s plays include Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Hot Water, Glitter and Spew, Oasis, Touched, and the musicals, The Chain (with composer Loren Linnard), The Shyest Witch (with composer Richard Jennings, and song cycle We Are Not Afraid of the Dark (with composer Sheela Ramesh).

Alison Luterman was raised in Massachusetts, the oldest of four children. She began writing poetry at the age of six or seven and has never stopped. She also began making up plays as a child, and cast her siblings in those early dramas. In high school, she was president of the Drama Club, and acted, wrote, and produced plays, as well as continued to write poetry.

She studied poetry at Emerson College and then at UMass Amherst. Her mentor at Emerson was the poet Bill Corbett, who introduced her to the work of Bernadette Mayer, John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley, James Schuyler, and others. At UMass she studied the poetry of D.H. Lawrence, Muriel Rukeyser, Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg, Elizabeth Bishop, and later, Tess Gallagher. She was also deeply influenced by Robert Bly’s book, Leaping Poetry, and by his translations.”

Visit her website at

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