The Rose That Dared

Shirley Klein

“If only there were wheelchairs for the mind” writes Shirley Klein in the opening poem of this collection, “I could push you through gardens of poems.” Klein, who has cerebral palsy, uses one finger on her strong hand to operate the keyboard, composing poems that are defiant and hopeful. Published by San Francisco’s Independent Living Resource Center, this chapbook features poems on a wide variety of subjects. The most compelling are those that deal with living in a world that’s, if not hostile, at least indifferent. For example, “The Signing of the ADA” is both an elegy for Klein’s father and a triumphal ode to “broad hallways / that no longer held the tyranny of UPSTAIRS.” Klein’s poems, reminiscent of the work of Maya Angelou, are as accessible as the rest of the world ought to be.