Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Crossing Over

The after-gym-drama was that
Jenae told Tyra's friends that
they should tell her that
her arm pits stank
and she should get herself some deodorant.

This information came to me
in requests for meetings in the hall
so feelings could be expressed
appropriately rather than in front
of the class.

But I didn't hear from Tyra.

So at the end of the day
I asked if we could talk
only saying How was gym?
and the tears were
slipping down her face.

This is ten going on eleven
going on twelve to thirteen
this minefield of relationships
and though we've been
talking talking talking
about how to treat each other
some moments keep returning

I wonder--
is this life for every girl growing up?
her rite of passage
her notice of the moment
when an adult can only hug you
tell you those girls were wrong
do you want me to talk to them?
when of course she will shake her head
no no no
of course not that

the loneliness
cool and black
like taking a kickball
in the face.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The First Week

by the second day
we were writing poems

drawing a red
in the center
of the first clean
notebook page
mining our topics

no rhyme
not yet

our dreams and fears
our memories
our sadness

this is our beginning
our trying to become
a family of sorts

we'll celebrate
the victories
and get on each
other's last nerve

our year is newly
cracked open
pale and white
stretching out
like a year
waiting for the
of the days
to follow

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


This is the conception
of a new address
the settling in
to wide blank rooms
finding places
for books and plates
beds and a piano
the start of a story
in this rowhouse
on this street
in this silver city.

This is the seed
of a fresh school year
the desks huddling together
ready to awaken life
the shelves organized
the closets heavy
with markers and gluesticks
notebooks and crayons
yellow pads of paper
scribbled with ideas
for the first day
the second day
the days and days
to follow
of unwritten prose.

This is the beginning
crisp and new
the whole world
a possibility.