words: SAME STORY

orange

happiness

shallow

line

SAME STORY

I’ve known the story since second grade,

that terrible year. The teacher checking

our fingernails and handkerchiefs,

teaching nothing but tedium. Gray

and marcelled, as chained as I 

to that small-town school.

The stench of hot-lunch goulash.

White bread spread thick with margarine.

The shallow patch of backlot gravel

where we tried to play. 

 

Reading was my happiness.

Sometimes I was allowed 

to sit on the windowsill with a book.

And where would I have found

such a thing in that barren place?

I can still see the drawing clearly—

the line of the girl’s dress,

the dragon’s orange flame.

And the prince—not St. George, I think—

but it was the same tale—

the monster demanding sacrifice, 

the unexpected release. 

 

2 comments on “words: SAME STORY

  1. Christine Lee Moore says:

    Just curious; Is this an actual memory? And marcelled. How do you even KNOW that word? I enjoyed looking it up.

    • It is an actual memory. A bit of poetic license—I think I read that story in another classroom—in St. Johnsbury, as a matter of fact, where the teacher and the school were excellent and I had friends! I don’t know how I know the word. Maybe my mother used it to describe that kind of hairdo.

      >

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