School’s Out, Vacation’s Here!

I love June–the weather, the strawberries, and the end of classes. June has always meant time for lots of reading, swimming, and vacation. And this June, I’ve decided to take a vacation from blogging.

Toad Hall's cabin by the pond
Toad Hall’s cabin by the pond

Since my book, The Altar of Innocence, came out in January of 2015, I’ve blogged every week, with either my own thoughts or the thoughts of several wonderful guest bloggers. Like many writers, I work hard to offer fresh ideas to readers and to engage people on a variety of topics. But for the next couple of months, I will be reposting some of the favorite blogs that continually get lots of readers.  I’ll also post several of my favorite poems for reflection. Then in September, I’ll start back up with blogging again.

Because I’ve been a teacher for my whole career, I’m attuned to the school calendar. So stopping for a break in June and resuming in September feels right to me. I will be working on my new book of poetry, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom, and planning a book launch for the fall. I hope to see many new and old friends at the readings, and most of all, I hope everyone will enjoy reading the new book as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Here’s a preview of my new collection from the latest edition of Dragonfly, a magazine put out by HopeWorks in Howard County. They graciously published three of my poems. I’ll be participating in their launch reading on June 16, 2016, at 7pm at the Owen Brown Community Center in Columbia, Maryland. Come on over if you’re around.

Freshman’s Lament

Because no one saw him steal in the side entrance
and creep into the locker room
that echoed with the silence of steel boxes.

Because no one saw him grab the girl
as she stuffed her blue gym suit into a duffle bag.

Because no one saw him shove her to the floor
and steal her freshman smile.

Because no one heard her cry
echo through the deserted basement.

Because all the mysteries of sex and power were twined for us,
as inseparable as the white laces of our saddle shoes,

we blamed her for what happened. All that year, we whispered and jeered,
smug in our little homeroom cliques.

Who would want to have sex with her?
She’s so plain. And she’s fat.

I wish I could hold her now, apologize
for all I didn’t understand
about violence and force and shame.

I’d sit with her at lunch time, promise to stand by her.
Give her back
her innocence.

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