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“The thought of everything society expects from the ‘American Dream’ hit me. There are all these expectations that our generation almost can’t meet — or that we don’t want to meet because we see that there could be a better way to live, a different way. So I examined life from the perspective of ‘the little things.’ ” — Jackie Duden

"I Am"
by Jaclyn Duden

I am the question
left in the bleachers
after all the right plays
took us nowhere.

I am drifting
somewhere in between
"I'm proud of you."
"buy a house."
marrying in a straight line
fitting all the pieces
into a vividly
deceiving perfection
that I somehow
only build with windows.

I am the flakes
falling onto your lap
as you bite into a

I am the pattern
on the curtains you bought
to add just a touch
of flare.

I am the statue
held still by gravity and concrete
known for the strange
occurrences of spirit.

I am the one piece
of the puzzle you can't find
no matter how much furniture
you look under.
jackie duden
Author’s self-written bio from Iowa City: “Jackie snuggles with her two fur-children by night and fights homelessness by day” as a case coordinator for Willis-Dady Homeless Services in Cedar Rapids.

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