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.


Blogger snowsparkle said...

ecm, your post is so touching... how you make a space for her to not only handle her pain and be with her in it. i admire you so much for your strength and ability to witness this sort of thing daily. i think it would either quickly do me in, or i'd become cold and detached to protect myself. i was just telling a friend about how my dad once just sat with me when i had been hit with a similar "kickball to the face" blow. he said no words.... just sat there with me in my pain... it made all the difference in the world. i'm so glad your in those girls' world at this time in their lives.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Deezee said...

this is really beautiful, both the moment and how you express it here in your poetry...

9:36 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

it is so hard when we realize that we cannot follow them around all day and protect them.
this kills me.
i can only imagine how hurt she felt. i can see her face as the girls told her what J. said.
she is one of the strongest girls i know though...she is confident. so she will get past it. i know what if feels like to send your kids to school for the first time!

7:49 AM  
Anonymous chiefbiscuit said...

Doesn't your heart just break? And there's often nothing you can do - cos you'll only make it worse - so you just have to watch and care - all conveyed so poignantly in your poem. Thanks.

3:13 AM  
Blogger twitches said...

So easy to forget what that time is like. It's good to see you care so much and can still relate so well. I'm sure your students remember you forever.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Hunting Wild said...

ECM, I like your style. I like the cadence and rhythm of your poems. I appreciate the way you step aside and let them be. Sometimes poems try so hard to sound like poems, but yours are like conversation, natural and flowing. That lets you stories and ideas show through, and they're wonderful.

I just joined the Poetry Thursday workshop, and I've been enjoying looking around at the sites and reading the poems. Finding yours made my day. I look forward to reading more.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! What an ending.

Yes, that moment when you have to go through those doors alone. Seems so unfair and so necessary.

Great work.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous susanna said...

Another good one, E. The last line was perfect - and painful. Poor Tyra.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous my backyard said...

This is touching.
"kickball in the face" is strong.

4:37 PM  

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