Let My Hands Too Bring the Day | wisconsinacademy.org
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Let My Hands Too Bring the Day

Third Place – 2021 Poetry Contest

The red edge of morning, like a razor,
slits the dark. No more excuses. Today
I will be sharpened. I will be more
myself as I would be. No espaliered

intent—centered, leaning into each moment
the way a ladder leans toward the window
of a burning house; I claim the ascent,
push ahead. I’m the water in the hose,

I am mercy, the chase of flame, but also red
heat eating oxygen and growing stronger.
I write my life high as smoke repeating
its open roll. I write my name, cite

all my yesterdays, old bones and battle
scars. Let my open heart meet injustice
with equal force, let kindness rattle,
shake me in life’s cup and pour me out as

urban produce, Ai Weiwei’s blankets, lead-
free water, room for refugees, Head Start,
health care. For the homeless—a meal, a bed,
lasting warmth. For everyone: sidewalk art.


Paula Schulz is the third-place winner of the Wisconsin People & Ideas 2021 poetry contest. She has taught grade pre-K through college. Schulz has been involved in many ekphrastic projects and lives and writes in Slinger with her husband, Greg.

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