Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Don't Have a Favorite

This short piece was written in five minutes as an exercise in a poetry workshop. We were asked to respond to a featured poem, with the theme of recognizing a diamond in the rough. "I'm from Gre-nah-da. Do you know where that is?" "Yes. There's a girl in Ms. Rondeau's class from Gre-nay-da." "It's Gre-nah-da! Why did you say 'Gre-nay-da?" "Oh, I don't know. I always say it that way. I'm sorry. Gre-nah-da." Samoa was my favorite second grader. When I asked my reading group, 'Who knows what jazz is?' She pulled out her air-trumpet and started playing. When she was being reminded not to talk during the lesson, she said, 'You're ugly, Samoa!' But she was not. One winter day after school as I walked to the subway I saw her wolf hat ears bobbing up and down. She was holding her mother's hand. "Hi Samoa!" "Hi Ms.S.! This is my mom." We exchanged shy hellos. This was wrong. Samoa took my hand and her mother's hand and made us shake. Maybe it was time to hand over my teacher's hat to this seven year old.