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Thursday, March 21, 2019


by Shelly Blankman

The Hill, March 14, 2019

You gross millions in the public eye,
ride us on roller coasters of tears
and laughter at every jolt, get paid

to crusade for the starved, the sick --
lost souls left behind by war and hate
who blanket the globe while you snuggle

under your cozy quilt. You strut the red
carpet in your glitzy gowns and stilettos,
flashing your porcelain smile for the cameras

as crowds echo your name. But you never
let us see you without your makeup, did you?
We never saw you after the credits had rolled,

We never saw you play the role of a lifetime:
A thief who could buy your kid’s way into
a school for the elite. We saw you lounging

in bistros, sipping your lattes, chatting with friends
while a world away from Hollywood, an Ohio woman
sits in jail. She is Black. Poor. Alone.

She was led there hunched, shackled,
in a black-and-white striped uniform.
She sobs for her daughters, the ones she registered in

a better school using her father’s address. A father
with whom she once lived. No bribery. No money.
No bistros. No lattes. Nine days prison. Three years probation.

No fan clubs to rally around her.
No rich lawyer to let her go.
Just tears. Just tears.

Shelly Blankman is an empty nester who lives in Columbia, MD with her husband, foster dog and 3 rescue cats. They have two sons who live in New York and Texas. Shelly's career has spanned public relations and journalism, but her first love has always been poetry. She has had a number of poems published in journals, such as Praxis Online Magazine, Poetry Super Highway, Ekphrastic Review, and Social Justice Poetry.