The best thing to happen lately
happened in Kindergarten.
Endless questions and unrelated commentary
I just had a convo in the hall earlier.
In my best stand up comedienne routine voice.
Do you know what a convo is?
It’s a conversation you have in the hallway or somewhere else with another person.
Hand in the air like a rocket or a truck antenna.
“A convo is a group of trucks.”
A convo is a group of trucks.
That six year old perception
An almost truth.
A six year old truth.
I ask myself in my not so comedienne voice
What will history teach these in ten years or more?
A convo is a group of trucks
An honest perception is far better than an outstanding lie.
And outright lies
Standing liars will lose.
Its a convoy.
In your hallway
It has taken me over two decades and more to learn not to ask a room full of first graders any rhetorical questions.
Ordinary answers will take hours.
Who threw that eraser?
Why are you doing that?
Who’s poking you?
Put your shoe on.
Please? Here’s a Kleenex. Yes you can go to the bathroom.
Do you know where to go?
Do you need the nurse?
Do you need me to tie your shoe? I can.
I like that picture you drew of me. I have a big mouth? Right?
Please clean up your space.
Do you want a friend with you?
Why are you doing that?
Ask and you will get 25 answers.
And more. Hands up and pointed fingers.
You know better.
You know what will happen.
You’ve seen it before. And then suddenly someone needs a band-aid. And so it goes.We were not gun people.
Ever. I have never shot a gun. I don’t even pretend. I plan to keep it that way.
Like making my way through class without reading a boring book. Like making fun of every ordinary adult thing. Grownups are a joke.
Guns are a joke.
We were not gun people. We didn’t even pretend.
But my father had an old shotgun that I believe he kept under my parent’s bed. I only saw him with it once one winter when he thought someone was outside of our house in the snow. An icicle or some such thing falling from the roof. A frozen intruder. A potential country house break-in.
What was Dad doing?
We were not gun people.
We didn’t even pretend. I have never shot a gun. I don’t even pretend.
I have argued at length with people who have shot guns. They are an unyielding bunch. I will tell you. And so it goes. I have plotted how to protect a room full of first graders. With rhetorical questions you should not ever have to answer. And band-aids you don’t wan’t to give. Do you need a friend with you?
Stop poking your neighbor.
Please. I will hold your hand. Tie your shoe.
This gun is not a joke.
We are not gun people.
I was chased by a dog past the bleachers
I loved being chased
the dog never won.
I wore corduroy pants in rust and mittens.
Each according to the Sears catalogue.
I was a Brownie then
and my uniform might have also been from the Sears catalogue
Everything came from the Sears catalogue.
Any girl could be a Brownie
with a sash and handbook and Mom with a big green car. A badge of honor.
We played Brownie games outside in the leaves.
It was fall.
We made Christmas decorations from pine cones and acorns and ran Red Rover on the lawn of a church.
I was a one season Brownie and that was it
It seemed too easy to me.
I was a Brownie in an overcoat, gold tights and heavy shoes.
Fall opened the window on frozen and then the world sparkled frost.
The moon was your guide.
Stars became your friends.
Write it down.
Life was colder then and clearer.
The dogs ran through your backyard
they passed under that moon right by your swingset and the lawn chairs out beyond their season.
Dogs on the brink of some other neighborhood.
Hounds will hunt
We are all weekend hounds.
Teeth and fences, voices. Running.
Corduroy pants and mittens.
According to the Brownie handbook we should all live by the Girl Scout law.
After school snacks and leaves, pinecone crafts, a sash and a brown beret.
Anyone can do it.
We rose to fame on the back of a bird
the sun saved me.
and then the wind.
I was a baby when the hurricane came. My first hurricane.
My parents waited in line for water.
I have dreams about water.
and being lost.
I stood in my crib and cried.
Or so the story goes.
I want to tell you
All things being equal. Are not.
I want to carve a word of equality somewhere on my wrist
and on your shoulder.
The first thing people might see when they shake my hand.
When I shake your hand.
Or when you look over your shoulder.
My sunlight came as a match, a cigarette, a street light.
On the wrong side of the street.
I remind you
We traveled years to get here
and all things being equal are not.
The burden of time and those feathers will not sustain you
Or so the story goes.
In January one afternoon not many months ago I was followed down the street by a man I did not know.
I was walking my dogs and when I leaned over to adjust the harness for one of my dogs
I felt a hand between my legs.
Winter. Daylight. Outside. A stop sign.
My first thought was “this is my husband.”
“He has followed us and this is something only he can do.”
I turned and made a noise. It was not a noise I had heard from myself
Across the street was the man I did not know who had followed me. He waited for me to bend over and then.
He waited for me to turn around.
I yelled at this man I did not know.
My hands were full of gloves and leashes and dogs.
Otherwise I would have have chased this man I did not know down the street.
This man I did not know was not my husband. This man I did not know did not have permission to become part of my space.
I don’t need a reminder of this.
I have not forgotten.
I would like to remind
Our person in power is a man I do not know.
He is not my leader.
I will continue a linear script until he is gone from my horizon.
I remember driving with my Father to Dunkin’ Donuts on a sunny Saturday.
The sky was more blue then when you are 6
or maybe 7.
We picked out pairs of donuts.
Sprinkled, glazed, iced.
Our family of 5 would divide them shortly.
Around 11-ish. Weekend hours.
I remember it was an event. .25 each roughly.
With a glass of milk. And another one please.
Later it was American Bandstand. 11:30-12:00 or so.
East coast and
We had a babysitter
Maybe a handful of times.
Then, there would be 3 frozen dinners complete with green peas and carrots
and a chocolate brownie.
That 1 brownie makes up for nothing I wanted to tell someone.
The best thing about it was the idea.
Compartmentalized dinners in a silver tray with dessert on the same plane. In the same place. Waiting.
It was freedom.
It was Saturday night.
Mom was getting ready.
Then it was
The bathroom, the closet, and the rotary phone on the dresser
Like a regular lady.
Counting the hours.
It would be fine.