The Code by Ann Bracken

Picture of poet Ann Bracken


The Code

by Ann Bracken

In this circle of men
their code demands one rule—
Find my value in my words.

Each session a blank check
you discover that everyone has
an attic filled with hope,
loss, and dreams.

How do you hold the experience
of terse words
shaped by
poverty and despair?

Slowly you will discover the unexpected bridges
connecting your life to theirs—the falls,
the disappointing parents,
the harsh walls of privilege.

Press deeper.
Mind only the present—
the books discussed,
the ideas on the page.

Ann Bracken is the author of two collections of poetry, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom (2017) and The Altar of Innocence (2015), She also serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review and coordinator for the Wilde Readings Poetry Series in Columbia, MD.  Her poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in anthologies and journals, including Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts, New Verse News, Fledgling Rag, ArLiJo, Reckless Writing Anthology: Emerging Poets of the 21st Century, and Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence among others. Ann’s poetry has garnered two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She offers poetry and writing workshops in community centers and at conferences.