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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: A Marionette Without Its Strings
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

The drawstrings cut,
my hollow ebony stained wood plomps to the floor—

Eyes open, souls recollect.
The new me, erect.

I make my own decisions, have my own priorities,
have my own thoughts.

No external force taps into me—

Free from your restriction,
your strings.

Your harsh hold of me,
your hands around my throat;
like sandpaper over a bruise.

My mouth an open slit which you fill with words.
I am no Marionette.
Never will be

I stumble on my newly found legs;
an extension of my freedom.
And walk past you
my head higher than the sun in mid-summer.
I availed, I won

Captured myself on that river of thought,
and left you abandoned
And it never felt so good.

Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, FL
Faculty Contact: Jana Bielecki, English Instructor