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Welcome to my online home.  Just like my timber frame cabin in the mountains of South Carolina, I hope this space will have a sense of place. I am fun-loving Southern woman who loves the old folk ways, fresh tomatoes from the garden, local history, and the atmospheric southern landscape.

“Kimberly Simms writes with eloquence and empathy about an important part of Southern history too often neglected.” --Ron Rash, Author of Serena

Monday, February 8, 2016

Black History Month: A poem in celebration of Mae Jemison

I wrote this poem in celebration of the Endeavor Shuttle mission of Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space.  This poem is written from the point of view of Mae Jemison, and it merges the factual with my own poetic imagination. This poem is the first in a series of poems about famous Americans aimed at middle grades students.


Mae Jemison Counts Down Aboard the 1992 Endeavor Shuttle




My blood pumps itself to a distant planet.
My brain is a supernova. My skin is a million stars.
The orange straps across my suit are bright as a fire.
I’m thinking of Grandmother, the swish, swish, swish

of her broom on that Alabama porch, the hot grits
bubbling on the stove, the smell of biscuits and bacon.
On an autumn evening, we’d slowly launch ourselves
in the swing, our feet rising across the pumpkin moon.

The year of my birth, 1956, Alabama still called segregation
separate but equal. My school teacher mama wanted more.
Her and daddy moved us to blue Chicago
to spirit, to hope, to zeal, to inspiration.

Grandmother’s tiny Alabama dreams never imagined 127 orbits
of the Earth.  Mission control is counting slowly down
and this Endeavor will shoot me into history
like a blazing star. What new horizons will I find

in a thousands years of blackness. The earth
and all its heavy history fall. I float, an impossible
dream, a black woman in a white NASA Suit,
an Alabama child with the whole world in her hands.


#blackhistorymonth #ya #youngadult #middlegrades #teaching #maejemsion #poem #poetry

I recently performed this poem for the students, teachers, and parents at the Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition in Spartanburg, SC at Spartanburg Community College. Sponsored by Hub City.






*Mae Jemison was not interviewed in regards to this poem, so the details of what she may have been thinking about while she waited to launch into space are wholly from my imagination. 

2 comments:

  1. I really like your page. Great job! May I share this?

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  2. Please feel free to share! Thanks for your encouragement!

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