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footnotes to the life of an illegitimate child

one of the terms that i despise the most in the english language: illegitimate child. i take issue with defining a human life as illegitimate simply because one's parents are not married when that one is born. and what amazes me is how often that term is still used, in this world where marriage isn't exactly viewed as a prerequisite for parenthood.

i find it personally offensive.

i have also been experimenting a lot with writing poems in the forms of other things--dictionary and encyclopedia entries, shopping lists, emails. so i wrote this one, kinda fragmentary, about the things i think of when someone uses the term "illegitimate child." i feel like this poem is unfinished, that i can continue to add to it at any time.

Footnotes on Illegitimate Children

1. The illegitimate son’s favorite
story is Pinocchio.
Like the puppet, he, too,
wishes he were a real boy.

2. The illegitimate daughter prefers
unicorns to princesses.
Like the unicorn, she
does not exist.

3. Both stand to inherit
only dust.

4. Perhaps illegitimate children
tell mama jokes because
they don’t know their fathers.

5. Why did I assume the illegitimate
does not know a father?

6. Sow your seed.
Do not watch it grow.
Do not reap a harvest.

7. I do not cast shadows.
Illegitimate child I
do not reflect in mirrors.

8. What law can govern
an illegitimate child?

9. What writer? She
is an unauthorized life reproduction.
Plagiarism.

10. The other hand:
The illegitimate child cannot
legitimately be punished
for the sins of the father.

11. Can I have legitimate income?
Perhaps I shall no longer pay taxes.

12. All grown up, she lives in Atlantis.
Vacations in Shangri-la.

hmm...
parent alienation syndrome...
maybe only poem could cry it all aloud...

take care & good luck

hmm...
parent alienation syndrome...
maybe only poem could cry it all aloud...

take care & good luck

thanks...i think poem is really the only way it occurred to me to state it

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About me

  • I'm call me aja
  • From nyc
  • 20something, black, woman, reader, writer, about to be a student again. i think i'd like to be heard (or read). child/grandchild of immigrant folk. yearning to travel. desirous of wisdom. a little bit ordinary, but working at being less so.
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