Wednesday, May 11, 2022

First Grade Rehearsal

Two to a desk, one chair each,
A dozen students, the girls
In skirts or dresses, barrettes

In their hair, the boys in slacks
And, mostly, button-up shirts,
The tables paired, three rows deep.

Their teacher had bouffant hair
And wore a dark, knee-length dress.
They practiced spelling her name.

At recess in the courtyard,
They teased the kindergarteners
For being younger than them—

You kindergarten baby!
You stick your head in gravy!
Wash it out with bubblegum
And send it to the Navy!

The nonsense part was nothing.
The brutal word was baby.
One first grader confided

To another she was glad
She didn’t come to this school
To go to kindergarten.

Then she chanted with the rest
To prove that she was with them.
Then they went back to their desks.

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