Second graders sweetly singing,
I the young teacher in front,
waving my arms, tapping my feet,
swaying to the beat.
tunes for all seasons,
noting the months,
Thirty days hath September,
April June and—
Mrs. D. at the piano,
Miss Me at the helm,
pale blue wool dress,
stylish sprayed tresses
mimicking Jackie K’s,
pouring music into
reminding openmouthed robins,
if you don’t know the words, just hum.
In the second-grade wing
at Somerville School in
Ridgewood, New Jersey,
where raw November grey
hovers over leafless oaks,
sudden silence, sudden horror.
Mrs. J. runs down the hall, crying
THE PRESIDENT’S BEEN SHOT!
THE PRESIDENT IS DEAD!
Chaotic dismissal, confused children
holding hands of grieving parents,
rushing toward the nation’s gash.
Unable to grasp the day’s enormity,
not knowing what words to sing,
we all hum.
From Sugar and Sand (Full Court Press, 2009).
Used here with the author’s permission.