Acceptance Speech

Poem for a Tuesday — “Acceptance Speech” by Lynn Powell

The radio’s replaying last night’s winners
and the gratitude of the glamorous,
everyone thanking everybody for making everything
so possible, until I want to shush
the faucet, dry my hands, join in right here
at the cluttered podium of the sink, and thank

my mother for teaching me the true meaning of okra,
my children for putting back the growl in hunger,
my husband, primo uomo of dinner, for not
begrudging me this starring role—

without all of them, I know this soup
would not be here tonight.

And let me just add that I could not
have made it without the marrow bone, that blood—
brother to the broth, and the tomatoes
who opened up their hearts, and the self-effacing limas,
the blonde sorority of corn, the cayenne
and oregano who dashed in
in the nick of time.

Special thanks, as always, to the salt—
you know who you are—and to the knife,
who revealed the ripe beneath the rind,
the clean truth underneath the dirty peel.

—I hope I’ve not forgotten anyone—
oh, yes, to the celery and the parsnip,
those bit players only there to swell the scene,
let me just say: sometimes I know exactly how you feel.

But not tonight, not when it’s all
coming to something and the heat is on and
I’m basking in another round
of blue applause.

in 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, ed. Billy Collins. New York: Random House, 2005, p. 99.


Lynn Powell is a poet, writer of creative non-fiction, and educator. She has been awarded an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, the Studs and Ida Terkel Author Award, the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, 4 Ohio Arts Council Excellence Awards, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. She lives in Oberlin, Ohio, where she teaches creative writing and serves as the director of Oberlin College’s Writers-in-the-Schools program.


Photo by Angela Khebou on Pexels.com

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