Monday, October 08, 2007


"Who's been taken from you?"
Leeka and Aisha asked
as we walk to my house
after school today.

I took them home to do
homework, give them a snack
as my first official duty
as mentor.

"Who's been taken?
You know, not from
getting old or dying regular
but taken away with a gun
or something."

No one, I say.

"No one? Really?"

To have a conversation
about not if
you've lost someone to violence
but how many people you've lost
with two eleven year olds
makes you pause.

"I think the world is really good,"
Leeka says, "and really bad too."

Yeah, I say.

Because there should not be
so much grief
in one neighborhood,
in one city
there should not be children
who know so many murders
that it is normal

the world tilts on its side
in the sky
the planets are falling
but the street
thinks there's nothing

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Sunday, October 07, 2007


"I'm scared
I saw a dead man
and I don't know who he is"
Teya exclaimed on the stairs
after lunch.

She has seen dead people before.

I weigh out her dramatic spirit
with how scary it would be
to really see a dead person.

This was hardly a private conversation
so by the time we were writing
in the afternoon,
it felt like were on the verge of sleepover squeals.

Kids were asking to go to the bathroom
then refusing because they were too scared.
Everyone was seeing movement in the hall.
Occasionally there was a spontaneous scream.

Two days later everyone was recovered
except Teya, who still held to her story.
Tia suggested she might need a psychologist.

"This is a new one," I commiserated
with the math teacher over lunch
as we brainstormed ways to not play
into her drama while acknowledging
her visions.

And so she's started a Sixth Sense journal.
"Not everyone understands, " I said
"so it might be best not to tell other kids."

I'm adding another skill to my resume--

Monday, October 01, 2007

When I Grow Up...

"I'm gonna be a
genius supermodel"
Leeka said
at the end of the day
"because there are
super models
but I think it would be
more unique
to be a genius supermodel."