dirt on the welcome mat

Tag Archives: school

Chlorine and sunscreen
And mean
Swimming instructor.
Do the butterfly stroke
Or float or
Like a nervous blowfish,
Just bobble
Tread water until
You taste towels
And a t-shirt
On the ride home.
Can’t swim in the shallow,
Give it a go 
In the can’t touch- 
Learn or
Drown deep, down
You go
Praying for snow
Or sickness
Until school starts again.

Elementary school
The clear plastic straw
On the side of a juice box,
Gnawed like number two pencils,
Squirting bright
Red splattered stains down
A wrinkled t-shirt.

We stuck to the fence better that way,
Our backs and mouths
Felt the
Cold silence.

Middle school
Lip gloss the color
Of balloon animals at the fair,
Squeaky twisted shapes that
Pop in the heat
Or at the hands
Of eager children.

The very sound of high school hallways
Sent fingernails into palms
Or over sticky lips
To whisper.

High school
The tangled seatbelt caught
In the passenger door,
Curling like nervous
Ribbon on presents
Stacked and scattered at the
Birthday party.

Identities passed around,
Bought and sold without a word
The stakes were high
And felt permanent.

Thoughts stretch

Until all color disappears

From their taut putty strings.

Only black and white

Answer bubbles bounce

In the brain,

Red herrings are sent

To the stomach

To flutter.

Yellow metal armored things,

Drivers trained

For frequent stops.

Rumble under heavy weights of

Swollen brains

And childish talk.

Sticks of candy

And smiley faced stickers,

Stones as pets, our imaginary friends.

Will we ever

Break from our childhood?

My very

Bones remember the playground,

But you have had a marrow transplant, your

Words don’t loop back,

Will you

Never return to your bug collection- what

Hurt stops you from remembering with


Scribbles form flowers
Easily enough.
Trees and birds come alive
With watercolor stuff.

Stray pen marks  
Turn to effortless sunshine.
Just a few fingerprints
Make a picture mine.

Seated in a circle,
My classmates all knew
Art was what
We were meant to do.

Being an artist was easy,
But we were talented, of course,
Until the teacher told us
To each draw a horse.

He didn’t just

Like candy and soda,

Cupcake wrappers

Filled his tummy too.

Ten chubby fingers

Trembled like Jell-O

As they reached

For the small

Pale hands of his pretty

Curly haired classmate

Who sat in trepidation

across the school lunch table.

But her chocolate pudding

Like the brown swirls of her hair,

Captivated his senses

And curbed his appetite

As he immersed each finger

In the sweet distraction.

Secret treasure he sealed
In a small sandwich bag
And hid in the depths
Of his first grade desk.

He didn’t dig up his goods,
But he did take a risk,
They were stolen,
At least in a sense.

His fellow buccaneer
Was none other than
A fair-headed lass
In the desk before his.

Their common enemy
Paced the classroom deck
With a red pen for a hook
And tally sheets for a plank.

These daring young pirates 
Had sworn to keep 
The desk’s sacred contents
A secret for life.

They might have sailed the high seas
With their cunning and skill
Had their dreaded foe
Not shrieked at her discovery.

From boogers to bloody band aids,
The teacher had seen it all,
But the plastic bag’s contents
Unleashed an unmistakable “Arrgh!”

“Jameson! You CUT her hair?”
The two scalawags bravely smiled,
Knowing all too well
They’d have to walk the plank.