Erin E. Dolan

Cleveland smells like hope today

Northeast · University Circle · Poetry

A day
When the weather feels like
Love itself
Sunshine smiles in my eyes
As I drive down the Shoreway
Living for its breeze
I have just dropped off
Borrowed bones
Feathers and fur
Whole birds even
At the place my nephew calls
The dinosaurs’ house
Then gathered my strength
To return to work
I have a habit
Of holding my breath
Even before this temporary era
Of collective breath-holding
I keep it
Pulled back
Between my shoulder blades
Like when I think
If I just wait
Long enough
And sit
Still enough
I will see Steggy move
Plates serving sunshine
Twinkle in his eye
Or her eye
I don’t know
How do you know
With a stegosaurus
And I don’t mean to put a gender
On an inanimate object
That is replicating
An animate object
The life-size stegosaurus
A museum on a circle
Of museums
Where my circle has met
Another circle
Art museum trips with babies
Heart walks with birthday buddies
Merry-go-rounds with my sister
That one time
Cleveland starts here
Says the sign
And so did I
Not really
I was born somewhere else
But here
Is where I found myself
Here is where I keep coming back to
Came back crying
Came back smiling
Came back around
Like that circle of museums
Full of history
And art
And painted ponies
Where Cleveland starts
I ended

Erin E. Dolan

Erin E. Dolan is a teacher, actor, playwright and poet based in Northeast Ohio, and a member of Literary Cleveland. Her works have been performed at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, The Illusion Factory and Spark Theatre 4 Youth. She is also a member of Stratosphere, a Northeast Ohio–based artists’ co-op. Erin is fiercely proud to be a Clevelander, and especially revels in all of the art that is created here.


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


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Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

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