Saturday, January 23, 2010

Into 2010 we go...

Out of The Sandbox

Recess in first grade was a war with the second graders
A battle over who could build the higher sand pile
With little time to shape and mold pointed piles
Awkward miniatures of Kilimanjaro or the Mater Horn
The challenge was all consuming, six of us working
Steadily, quickly, but the second graders always won.

That day, I believed for once we really had them
It was near the end and we had them by a foot or so
Then, joined by others, they took the lead and the bell rang.
Another day of humiliation, why did we always lose?
With that weight, I started to the line, then turned back
The devil in my feet; ran and kicked their mountain down!

It felt good to get the best of them, see the horror, the fear
But their expressions were not about the sandbox war…
Something— Ahhhh! — Something stung me, whipped me!
Jumping, my arm twisted in the death hold of her hand, I jerked
She slapped again and again until I screamed in painful fear
I remember words about not turning back after the bell rang...

Then she let go, I walked slowly, every eye in the school on me
I couldn’t look up, couldn’t get in line, walked to the boy’s room
Locked myself in, bawled for what seemed hours (was ten minutes)
The first grade teacher came, talked me out, my mother arrived
Raised hell, had that woman called on the carpet, reprimanded
(Good old Mom)… events then fade; I don’t know what happened,

Remember mostly the sting of that hand, hard words, those eyes
My first encounter with the terror of pain inflicted by a stranger
Something bigger people called
The Law.


Heather Conroy said...

Good old Mom! I hope it was your last encounter with the terror of pain inflicted by a stranger. But probably not... My first recollection of someone else stepping in "a stranger" was around the same age when I stepped out onto a busy road in front of a car and was grabbed by a stranger in the nick of time. I was mortified! I can still remember how it felt to be dealt with by someone other than family or familiar friends. Your story brought that sensation rushing back to me.

Katherine Jenkins said...

Wow! What a powerful piece. I remember that feeling when I was young. When someone older teased and I wanted to just go crazy. That feeling of knocking something down and then the consequences of that. Yes, I remember these feelings well. Thanks for sharing!