Fiske Elementary Art Room

I look down: I’m wearing pants.

Great, I’m not dreaming.

I’m sitting at a desk.
Everyone is putting colorful papers
on Miss Miller’s desk
at the front of the room,
and she’s looking
at me through all the empty rows.

I look at my desk.
I look in my desk.
I look under, and in my backpack.
I look back, as far as I can remember.
Wherever I just was
was warm and green and wet
and I was with a girl, which is weird,
but it didn’t feel weird.

Miss Miller looks at me
while everyone drains outside.
I look down again.

She closes the playground door
and sits next to me. She puts her feet
under my chair.

No homework today?

I… I didn’t remember it.

She thinks about that.

Didn’t remember to bring it
or didn’t remember to do it?

I pull at my pants.

She tilts her head a little
and says in a soft voice,
Do you remember
what the homework was?

I look out the window. I wish
I was somewhere warm and green
and even weird.

She touches my shoulder.

No.

Your earliest memory, Miss Miller smiles.
Do you remember that?

Sometimes things don’t happen
in the order you expect them,
and that can make remembering things,
even special things, really hard.
It helps to know where you started
so you can always start there.

Can I look at everyone else’s?

No.

Why not?

Because they had a different assignment.

They did?

Yes. This one is special
for you.

Why?

Miss Miller pats my desk.
Because everyone deserves to work
from where they are.

When is it due?

She looks at the clock and smiles.

If you want to avoid a demerit,
I’d say you have about ten m—

Added: January 15, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015