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Phyllis Dozier is a poet, screenwriter and memoirist who is finding her creative voice after thirty years as an HR executive at Fortune 100 companies.  A Phi Beta Kappa, B.A. summa cum laude and M.A. graduate of the University of Minnesota, Phyllis takes writing classes at the Loft and is a member of Women of Words, WOW. Phyllis draws inspiration from nature’s changing of the seasons, when she sometimes encounters thin spaces.  


I was born in 1955.

I once went back to Catalpa Street in Chicago

 To stand on the block 

And look up at the apartment building 

Where my parents, brother, sister and I lived.

Only the catalpas looked the same.

At three I played wedding dolls with Kathy next door.

At five I climbed backyard oak trees

And exploded a roll of caps by striking each with a rock.

Knock, knock, bang!

Knock, knock, bang!


In July ’63 a drunk driver collided head-on

With our Volkswagen Camper, killing my dad. 

In November ’63 Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy.

The nation joined me in being sad. 

I started to feel less alone.

Some people can recite all the lyrics to Bob Dylan songs,

Some the sonnets of Shakespeare.

I know the words to speak when tragedy strikes.


In ’73 I flew to West Germany and worked at Lufthansa.

In ’75 I almost married a German

But as I became more fluent, he became less attractive.

In ’77 I married the love of my life.

In 2017 he and I celebrated our 40th 

Sipping Sancerre in the Loire Valley. 


In ’83 I gave up on a Ph.D. 

And joined the corporate world of McGraw-Hill.

I wasn’t going to be an artist

Like my actress mother

Or musician brother

Or filmmaker sister.

My gram called me a pencil pusher.

What I did and how I did it

Held little interest for my family.

But I found my calling in the business world

And never looked back.


At 29 I became a mom for the first time

At 32 I gave birth to a baby three months too soon.

I envied other moms 

Whose babies were full term, healthy, big.

I was jealous of the man I loved

Fearful his 9 to 5 freedom would lead him

To leave me and our sickly preemie.


At 54 breast cancer surprised me

But shouldn’t have.

It’s my Zodiac sign, Cancer the crab.

I never believed in astrology 

Except when I received that diagnosis.


At 62 I became a grandmother to a baby girl.

I will raise her to feel loved and powerful.

#MeToo came too late for me 

But not for her.


I’ve traveled the world

Mostly for work but also for fun.

I’ve tasted sashimi on tatami mats, 

Gorged on mangoes in Manila,

Walked the Great Wall of China,

Danced on the beach at Ipanema

And watched a cow stop traffic in Delhi.

I speak a few foreign languages

But am no polyglot.

I like to think I passed onto my sons

A love of the wider world.

I am lucky to have close friends

And count several of them as life-long.

They will tell you I am loyal.

I throw great parties, cook gourmet meals, 

And write clever limericks.

I prize paper of all kinds: cottony or scratchy 

Or velvety or pulpy. 


I find God in nature, less in church 

I use Anne Lamott’s three prayers: Help. Thanks. Wow.

I grew up poor 

Not able to afford grapes.

But today I buy them

Whenever I feel like it.

Middle of winter

You’ll see me eating red grapes.

In short even if I never publish a thing

Or enjoy fame of any kind

I can say I’ve lived a wondrous 63 years— 

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