Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Lawanda's mom called at the end of the day asking
why she was off the basketball team.

Because she's missing homework and classwork
and her attitude is keeping her from learning, even
when she is in class, I try to say gently.

I hear her kids coming home
Lawanda's crying, her little sister whining,

"This is what I deal with.
I work the night shift
I haven't been able to sleep yet
and I work again at eleven."

Lawanda, I knew, was crying
because she hit a classmate.
She'd been crying five minutes
earlier while collecting her stuff
from my room.

I love you, I said
but I don't know what to do for you.

I love you too, she snuffled
walking out the door.

"Why is it always my kids?" her mother continues
"Why is it always their fault? If this escalates
you all gonna see my backside at that school."

It's like a deep chasm and
we're standing on opposite sides
wanting the best for this child.

We don't have the answers.


Blogger joy madison said...

you and kathleen are angels on earth, I tell ya. kathleen led us here (of course) thanks for the inspiration! those girls need someone on their side!

4:03 AM  
Blogger madness rivera said...

I'm here through Kathleen too. It all makes me want to be a teacher. Seriously. It sounds like a tough frustrating fight between worn-out parents then lame school politics, but if not for the kids then what? Then what?

Your writing is poetic.

4:14 PM  

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