Day 123 – I’m Ten

I ride in a yellow monster’s mouth
with gum under my feet
I carry books like an ant with a piece of fruit

I can write with any pencil
no matter how small a nub
I can tell you what’s a rhombus and what’s not

I understand what you mean
when you spell out D-E-N-T-I-S-T
I know when you’ve been crying and when you lie

I know what an active shooter is
but they won’t mess with me
I’m ten and I’m fierce and smart and fancy-free

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Day 117 – I’m Taking A Class

I’m taking a class
on writing;
about teaching children
to write well

The professor wants us
to get a little journal
and carry it around
to write little thoughts in

She says I have to be a writer myself
to show a child how to be one
so we’ll practice
and she’ll check it every week
to make sure I’m doing it

I just sit so quietly
during these times

I can’t get angry
like the first four classes-
I know now this is not
really meant for me

but oh the things
I sit so quietly through
because it’s just
what has to be done

Oh the well-meaning requirements
from all the bad apples
that spoiled the bunch

Day 50 – I’m Staying in the Pool Today

I’m staying in the pool today
soaking up the last of the sun
because I know tomorrow means
the end of all my fun

I’m staying in the pool today
even after it gets dark
this may be my last chance to swim
so today I am a shark

I’m getting shriveled in the pool today
but I don’t care at all
they say that summer’s at its end
but I don’t care for fall

It’s getting pretty chilly in the pool today
my bones are frozen throughout
but I don’t care if the weekend’s done-
I’m still not getting out!

Day 5 – Bookstores

Bookstores call to me
plaintively
and it’s only me that can hear them

I apologize,
“I don’t have time”,
add it to the list compiling

trailing behind my feet-
the circle is incomplete.

I rush home by ten
collapse again
compensated by a bed and a rerun

Nothing gets my best
I’ve got nothing left
in a life where I feel like a guest

I sold my dancing shoes
for the strength to pay my dues

and bookstores will have to wait

 

A Message from a Furious Teacher

This country is out of its damn mind if the only solution we can come up with to gun violence in schools is “arm the teachers.”

I became a teacher for a reason: to educate. To nurture. To inspire. To take care of your kids, and yes, jump in front of a bullet if I have to. But I shouldn’t have to.

I did not choose to become a cop or a soldier or a security guard. I am not a fighter. I am not a killer. I don’t want that on my hands.

You cling to your right to own guns but you have NO RIGHT to require me to take up arms that I don’t believe in.

I already have given up any chance at wealth to teach your kids. I have given up my free time and half my sanity. I come home exhausted every day, sometimes sobbing over somebody’s kid being abused or neglected or trapped in poverty or bullied because even though I know I’m doing the best I can, I can’t protect your kid from everything.

But now you want me to wield a gun? You want me to put aside my personal beliefs and have that responsibility forced on me too?

You want to ask that of me so I can keep YOUR kids safe?

I’m not the one failing your kids. YOU ARE. If you believe more guns are the solution to school shootings, go buy a gun and keep your kids home. Teach them your damn self. YOU be the one ready to stand in front of a bullet and stop demanding other people do it.

Many teachers already HAVE done it. Teachers lay dead right now from defending your kids. Has that stopped anything? If I kill an active shooter, does that do anything to prevent the next one? You think school shooters will be dissuaded by the chance that they will be killed? They’re suicidal. THEY DON’T CARE.

So don’t expect me to lay down my life for your kids when all you’re gonna say when I’m dead is “she should’ve had a gun.”

No, YOU should’ve done more to make sure YOUR kids weren’t at risk and asked yourself why OUR government doesn’t give a shit enough to do anything, and is content to let TEACHERS continue taking the bullets.

Day 36 – The Difference

If you were ten
I’d be six;
if you were starting school
I’d be a baby,
if I was starting college
you’d be leaving it
and we’d have never met.

If you ask me,
it’s pretty lucky
that you were 29 drinking coffee
and I was 25 drinking tea;
that I wasn’t looking for a man like you
and you weren’t looking for me.

The difference was only
experience-
a teapot ready to boil-
two flowers ripe
to reach towards the sun,
the past laying ground
for one moment
when everything
was ready.

And the difference
doesn’t matter now,
we’re both 4 and 12 and 21,
reliving every stage again
together.

Day 25 – TJ

My first boyfriend,
in 9th grade,
was TJ Peterson.

We went out for 2 weeks
and then I broke it off
because I thought
he didn’t like me enough.

I watched too many movies
and I thought
it should’ve been romantic,
something more obvious,

but he was just my friend
who was funny
who didn’t have any classes with me
so he sent his friend to get a bathroom pass
and deliver me notes
across the school.

They were just about his day,
and whether he did his homework or not,
and some doodles,
that’s all.

We wrote a lot that year,
even though his friends sometimes
gave him grief about it.

Someone said we should date
so we tried it,
but when we held hands
it was so sweaty
and I didn’t like when
people looked at us.

So I said it could never work
and he moved away soon after.
I didn’t really notice because
I liked the new goth kid
and TJ never really
liked me much anyway.

I never figured it real enough
to matter.

But I’m a lot older now,
and I’ve stomached at least one
episode of The Bachelor,
so I’m starting to think maybe
it was as real
as anything
ever is.