We ordered a medium – half pepper and onion,
half plain, no mushrooms, no meat –
and waited for our number to be called.
I was wishing it could all be so simple
and grumbling how badly the morning had gone,
how hard to get started.
Then Sarah, who's eight, said Okay,
here's what you do, go look
in a book, find a topic you like
and whatever it is, make up a rhyme –
like you could go
the blue whale
has a slippery tail . . .
She shrugged, rolled her quibble-proof eyes
and turned her hands inside out: See?
Now it was my turn to shrug and our number
came up, but Sarah kept on:
You know – the biggest animal on earth?
But you could pick Halloween or jelly beans
or a ghost. It could be anything.
This poem first appeared in Explorations and later appeared in Another Way to Begin
and As If Gravity Were a Theory (Cider Press, 2006).
Used here with the author's permission.