Normal for Vermont

I grew up in a place
where it snows in April
and the flowers still
bloom in May.

I grew up in a place
where summer is short
and winter is long
and everything gets covered in snow.

I grew up in a place
where March comes
in like a lion and goes out
like a bigger lion.
(Probably because it ate the lamb.)

I grew up in a place
where the weather can change
in fifteen minutes or less
and nobody seems to mind.

I grew up in a place
that’s never too hot
but sometimes too cold
but that’s what warm coats and boots are for.

I grew up in a place
where springtime means mud
and the chipmunks
might eat your flower bulbs.
I grew up in a place
where autumn is wet
like the summer was saving
all its best storms.

I grew up in a place
where the weather is odd
and people from elsewhere
just don’t understand that
for Vermont
it’s really just normal.

Advertisements

Home

If home is where the heart is, then my home is you.  It’s as true as it is sappy and cliché.  Even my parents’ house, the blue one on Clover Street, that used to be tan with dark red shutters, with the beech tree out back I still sometimes climb into to sit and read, the antlers on the shed now broken off, the one that held my childhood, feels more like home with you in it.  Even the car ride to take you back to your house, singing the whole hour-and-a-half, feels like home until you open the front passenger door and wave goodbye, holding my heart at home, with you.

Controlled Chaos – Or – Friday in Mr. Schatter’s Second Grade Room

For Andy Schlatter and his 2017-’18 students.  Thank you for letting me join in the fun.

Finish your breakfast
come to the rug
tell me good morning
I’ll say it with love

Time for math
we’ve finished our game
check with your friends
are the answers the same?

Off to the library
a story and books
if you can’t find it
the teacher knows where to look

Read by yourself
or read with a friend
some always wish that
reading would end

Empty classroom
lunch is bliss
but I wouldn’t wish for
a whole day of this

Out to the playground
the kids scream and run
it’s outdoor recess
and we’re all having fun

Until somebody pushes
and the other one shoves
and someone ends up
with wet muddy gloves

Back inside
to sit at our desks
quiet music plays
as we let our brains rest

Then to the rug
where without fail
read aloud promises
a very good tale

Writing is next
though some try to delay
they complain about
writing nonfiction today

PE is next
the kids run in the gym
no matter the game
they all want to win

Tired and hungry
it’s finally snack
there’s only one juice
and they all want it bad

The last thing we do
at the end of the day
is free choice time
and everyone plays

Time to clean up
it’s a quarter to three
but nobody listens
or seems to hear me

Ring the chime
and wait for their eyes
listen and smile
as the noise slowly dies

Three o’clock-ish
we walk out the door
the chairs are all stacked
and we’ve picked up the floor

Parents and siblings are
waiting outside
some of the kids
have to go wait inside

Back to the classroom
the end of my day
it’s all just controlled chaos
but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Twilight

Walk with me
in the twilight
in the not quite day
the not quite night

Be with me
something closer than friends
but not quite in love
and we’ll take this road
one step at a time
walking in the twilight.

The Archives

Sitting alone on
a bar stool
looking out the
garage door window
of the arcade
watching the snow fall
lazilly drifting
to the streets

My one drink
paid for
a silly excuse
for a bar tab
waiting for my dad
to come take me home
sipping water

The fairy lights on
church Street
twinkling like
miniature
close-up
stars
as I sit
talking with you
so many miles away
hoping you’ll
still be awake
when I get home

How a Mathematician Falls in Love

I’d like to
take a compass
and measure
the circle
my arms make
around you
to see how small
the space is
we take up
together.

I’d find the equations
of the functions
for the parabolas
your arms make
hooked under mine
your hands pressed
tight against the
imperfect triangles of
my shoulder blades.

I’d trace the
plane of your
back as I
held you close
the distance between us
disappearing
the line where your
lips meet opening
to elipses
when touched with the
pressure of my own.

I’d learn the
geometry of
your body
every curve
every line
every angle
until I found
proof in your
measurements
of the ways we
fit together
so perfectly.

I’d count each
beat of my heart
in my chest
as your head rested
against it
the calm
steady pace
a measurement for
how long I’ve
loved you.

Teacher

I live for the
ah-hah! moments
the moments when you
watch someone think
see something click in their mind
and feel the smile and excitement that follow
overflow into the room around them

I live for the projects
you really want to do
the ones
people are so
invested in
for them
it is play
and not work

I live for making these things happen
for finding the sparks
to ignite the flames
and for watching a mind
run away with itself
because it’s too excited to stop

I live for watching
learners become
the life-long kind
who never stop
being curious
who seek out
those moments
where everything
finally
makes sense

Don’t Understand

I do not have
many friends
and that is okay.
People aren’t nearly as
interesting as they
believe themselves to be.

I thought you
were my friend
but now I’m
not so sure.
You’re still interesting
but you don’t
understand.

You ask
“Why don’t you
go out more?”
Say
“He doesn’t love you.
Just go find
someone new.”
But it’s
not as easy
for me
when I seem to
see through people
so quickly.

Yes
I’m in love with
my best friend.
Yes
I know it’s one-sided
but I also know how
rare it is
for me to feel
so invested
in someone.

I don’t want to
let that go.

With the Future

For Leila Grace, with love from your cousin Caity.

I often hold hands and walk
with the future.
She leads me along
and tells me we’re both princesses.
I ask if her baby brother is a prince
since we’re princesses.
She responds by saying it’s
just pretend.
I guess Owen doesn’t get to be royalty
this time.

I often sit and paint
with the future.
She adds leaves and apples
to the stem of my rose
and invents new flowers
of the simplest kind
in all different colors.
I ask her what her favorite color is.
“This one.”
She points to
a different color in her paint set
every time.

I often sing and dance
with the future.
She hums nameless tunes
like the ones I used to hum
the secret songs known only
to the very young
that mean nothing and everything
all at the same time.
Today she is teaching me
how to jump
and my mother takes her other hand
so we can help her jump higher
that a three-year-old ever could
on her own.

I often talk
with the future
and she tells me
anything is possible
but some things are
just pretend.
I look at her
and I can tell
the future is bright
intelligent
and practical
with an infinite well of
creativity and curiosity
and I cannot wait
to see where the future
takes me next.