Archive | August, 2013

Still My Favorite

22 Aug

Meet the teacher night is almost over.

The now too-tall stack of crayon boxes teeters dangerously. Kleenex Box Mountain dwarfs the desk. The hand-shaking, smiling, sizing-up session is just  about over when the twins from my first year stick their heads in the door.

The girl throws her arms around me without hesitation. But her brother hangs back until I ask “are you still at the hugging age?”

“Oh yes ma’am, always.”

I remember a day when we’d drawn swords, faced off. He went to the next class angry. But later, a fire drill sent us bumping into the same hall.

I patted his shoulder, whispered “you’re still my favorite.”

He had tried to play it off saying, “everyone’s your favorite.”

But his voice broke, tears came, and he threw his arms around me, repeating “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Me, too,” I said, as the fierce relief of forgiveness welled up in my throat. “I’m sorry I let you leave mad.”

This night, three years later, we talk about books and band and middle school.

“We still talk about your class all the time, about how much fun we had in here,” his twin sister says.

Then the principal is on the loudspeaker thanking everyone for coming, their mom calling for them down the hall.

“You’re still my favorites,” I tell them, as they’re running out the door.

He calls back over his shoulder…

“Everyone’s your favorite.”

Summer Conversations With a Teenage Boy

7 Aug

I don’t mean to be a bother

it’s just that I think

I saw something move under your bed.

It might have been a sock monster,

Springing sui generis perhaps.

More likely the result of sympatric speciation

between the socks and mold spores,

now feeding on sunflower shells dropped down the crack

between your mattress and the wall.

I know. You didn’t notice, being very busy and all.

I’m going… oh, but if I may bring up

the issue of the drinking glasses?

On precursory glance I estimate seeing perhaps a half-dozen of them,

and not to be alarmist, but one appears to be growing a fur coat

or a new strain of penicillin, which would be quite a find.

I hate to hinder science.

Nonetheless, I would prefer the glasses be placed in the dishwasher.

Sanitized for our protection.

Again, I know you’re  extremely busy.

Get to it when you can.

Lastly, I truly rue to mention,

but your closet door seems to be bowing outward

as if it were a womb for some alien life form trying to claw out

I don’t want to speculate recklessly,

but it could have something to do with the fact

that you last did laundry sometime in June

if my admittedly rough calculations are correct.

Perhaps you could get on that eventually.

No rush at all, but apropos of nothing..

I’ve changed the wi-fi password.

You may have it when your room is clean.

Sorry, Emily

6 Aug

Emily Dickinson

A response to Ms. Dickinson

Hope is not the thing with feathers – chirping out platitudes.

Hope is the thing with claws that dig in, defiant, refusing to let go —

even when its bloodied fingertips are worn raw against the slick obsidian cliffs of despair… statistics… survival rates.

Hope is no oblivious canary, singing merrily as it heads down the mineshaft.

Hope knows full well what it’s up against, and screams into the darkness anyway:

You. Will. Not. Win.

Monday’s Aftermath

5 Aug


Well, whatever,

Let’s not debate

about who ate what.

The point is, they’re gone now,

and we’ll have to settle

for green smoothies for breakfast.

Get our daily allowance

of vitamins and minerals.


I miss the cupcakes.

poem- modern illiteracy

4 Aug

I love this poem by Shawn L. Bird, even though it makes me sad, it also makes me anxious to get back to my students and pick up the fight again.

Shawn L. Bird

Each day she enters the library

trailing behind her friends to sign out a book-

one they suggest or something near that’s fat

and impressive.

“I could never read a book that thick!”

“I heard that author is great!”

She settles into her seat, and

during silent reading

she opens to the middle and  flips pages

occasionally looking at the cryptic shapes

arranged on the page to find words she knows,

but mostly her eyes are elsewhere as she turns

the page, stealthily,

wondering what others see when they read

wondering if they are pretending,

wondering if anyone notices.

At the end of each class,

its mysteries too deep to decipher

she drops the book into the library bin.

“Are you done already?”

“Yes. It was really good.”

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Didn’t See That Coming

4 Aug


You ate

the one vanilla buttercream cupcake

even though

I bought four chocolate ones for you,

sprinkled with sugary celebrating confetti

Because I thought that’s what you wanted.

It wasn’t. So I settled for a chocolate one

instead of

the one vanilla buttercream cupcake

you ate.

Hank Writes

2 Aug


The possum balances

on the the weathered fence rail

Hissing down, red eyes glaring.

I reluctantly stand sentry

because the frantic terrier shows no sign of retreat.

Of course.

Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark.


This is why dogs don’t write poems.

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