Privilege of Witness by Amber Albritton

Privilege of Witness
for Monica

Thinking about driving
following you up
lamenting my skin
that some queen
isn’t going instead of me
someone who knows what I can’t
whose teeth clinched quiet too
as white-armed
answers, anemic, flew up
when you, your answers perfect.
You wear those goodly words.

I look like that white lady
that suburban affordability
of privilege. Obtuse pseudo-salvation,
tilted waddle.

But I’ve been hungry,
microwaving my week’s potato.
I’ve been split lentils, separated
by the uninvited.
Born woman, one flimsy
generation from “poor white trash” and I
have kept my place to keep my peace
I have hushed my poetry––
watched a lifetime go by in white linen
cotton picked clouds

And what I really want to say is, that one true thing

it has been the great privilege of my life
Seeing you.

Following you to your new life
hope lives in this skin,
a privilege of witness, of hope for a future.


Amber Albritton is a creative writing student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville who is currently investigating MFA programs throughout the country. She is a former Editor of Pellissippi State’s Imaginary Gardens Literary & Arts Review. Her poetry has been published in Phoenix Magazine. Her poem, “Privilege of Witness,” shines a stark light on the ambiguities of the American female psyche. The poem is written for her friend and mentee, Monica, who is currently earning an MFA at Syracuse, University, and shares a mutual admiration for poetry and story.


**Photo Source: Photographer: Shamim 2010

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