By August 3, 2015 Read More →

PoetryView – Let the Games Begin

Let The Games Begin
by Sam Pierstorff

This is for the first letter learned—etched with a fist
around a blunt pencil, circling the page like a tornado.

His name is Oscar, and these are his Os,
drawn like targets or springs bouncing across a page.

And this is for Violet, her Vs like empty sugar cones,
the arrow of her initial pointing down
though her head is always up.

This is for the first syllable of the first song
on the first day of preschool.

This is for the hug at the door—and for the first kid
who cries when he arrives and when he leaves.

This is for the child who is safe now—whose neighborhood
walls are crumbling under the weight of poverty and divorce.

This is for the kid who has felt a leather belt against his bottom,
or an open hand across the same lips God made to smile.

But this is not where the story ends. This is where it begins.

This is for the sandbox where castles are first built—
where boys become kings and girls do not wait
for a prince to feel alive.

This is for blue food coloring that turns water into oceans,
and for glue that makes imagination stick to brown paper bags.
Yolanda makes a puppet with curly black hair like her own.
Kevin makes a wolf. All morning he howls.

Today, pencils are sharpened for tracing the alphabet.
Tomorrow, the Pulitzer Prize. Before the Sistine Chapel,
there were finger-paints. Before ballet, the Hokey Pokey
was what it was all about.

So this is for the teachers who will lead marches across grass
even in the rain and strum guitars, the room echoing
with the voices of children who should never be told to shut-up.

This is for the surrogate mothers and fathers of America—
the teachers—who will play all day on bended knees
so our kids can stand tall for the rest of their lives.

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