I tend to lean toward material that addresses social justice and issues of identity and culture. When asked by Julia during one of our class sessions if I thought I’d lean toward those more serious themes I said that I probably would. But then there were a handful of poems that stirred a childlike wonder in me. Perhaps knowing I’d be returning to my middle school students influenced my final selections. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I can’t wait to share them with my students.
Poems appear in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
The Death of the Horse by Beth Cato
in the girl’s eyes
the horse is like a chameleon
his hide a rainbow
that bends light and renders him invisible
to most everyone else
cars drive through him
people walk on by
yet when the horse gallivants about
the big oak tree
birds scatter affright
he kneels beside her bed each night
skin flickering red, turquoise, chartreuse
his scent of grass and dust and moonlight
he whispers of his home planet
that he is only visible to special children
for short periods of time
he teaches her the dances that the Quar’tath
use to speak emotions
drills her on species and home planets
talks her through drawing space craft and gunnery
vulnerable points on hulls
and advises her to tuck the notebook into
the deep recesses of her closet
he promises her that she’ll forget these things
for a while
as her child brain fights the adult it will become
but when the time is right
when humanity requires an ambassador
she’ll be ready
she’s distraught when he begins to die
his form flickers like a fast ceiling fan
forces her eyes away
she swears she’ll be the one
who doesn’t forget
who doesn’t see through him
the horse says it’s not her conscious fault
it’s a change in brain chemicals
that hides him from vision
deafens her to his voice
that when he’s gone
it’s only wise of her to question
what can’t be proven
he is gone
the new school year starts
she hangs out with girls who shave their legs
and giggle every third word
she’s the quiet friend
the one who listens
the one who remembers
when she walks home she passes the oak tree
the birds are still
in her room she starts a notebook
of star charts and trajectories
she mutters through her own equations
answers her own questions
pounds through Google searches
and dusty library tomes
she won’t forget
she won’t forget
when the girl sleeps
she dreams of flickering rainbows
warm breath against her cheek
when she awakens in the dead of night
all is silent
yet she listens
Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella WINGS OF SORROW AND BONE. Her newest novel is BREATH OF EARTH. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter @BethCato.
Mermaids by Peggy J. Davenport
In the light of the sunset casting it’s colors of like that of inside a shell;
pink, purple…heavenly blue’s.
Like a jewel of feminine beauty, strength and integrity.
But fragile our minds are not, rather made of many grains of sand,
strong, collected, persistent pearls we are.
As the mermaid inside us all, we carry scales of our own design and color.
We mermaids swim among sharks, and brave hurricane storms.
Let us not sink, our breaths be taken away.
But from the cold depths of our ocean floors reach up toward the light of the surface,
breaking the glass of the image of our past and breath in deep the fresh air of our futures.
Let there be, in our minds, a calmness, a stillness, of the mirror like waters after a storm.
Let our past be washed away, and our slate be left clean, such as where the water meets the sand.
Let our hopes reach high, where the water meets the sky.
Let the mirror image our truths.
Let us not settle only to reach for the stars of the sky but have the strength to push through the current and reach instead for the stars of the ocean.
Hear our sirens song, not for the loss of love, but for our love that we give.
Let us find tranquility in our souls, and a soft sand on which to lay our heads.
The rain that comes and drops upon our glass surface, the dark clouds we do not fear, for we welcome the silver linings of promise.
BIOGRAPHY: Island bound in Galveston for six years and the lines of true girlhood to womanhood crossed. Living car free while doing so, preferring to bike about the island. I am now onto another adventure of traveling my own backyard of The United States by RV and hopefully one day airstream. After that the plan is by sailboat anywhere south of here. I love books, large furry messes of dogs, and occasionally my boyfriend.
Go Play in Trajectory by M.T. DeSantis
Whizz, whizz, zoom!
Eight ball, corner black hole
Tackle at the fifty asteroid belt line
Bob went first, then Joan
Then Fred and Sue and Anne
Ty couldn’t keep up
Too much gas and gravitational pull
Dad shines at the center, yells for us to play harder
Knock ‘em down! Strike ‘em out!
It’s all fun and games
Until someone supernovas
Overtime. Extra innings
Poor Bart. I’ll miss him.
But that’s how the dust particles fly
Game! Dad flares when there are nine of us left
He rounds us up, divides us by type
Solids on the inside, gases further out
Little icy Polly at the end of the line
It’s time for a new game, a racing game
On our marks. Get set.
Round and round and round we go
Will we stop? Not unless dad says so
BIOGRAPHY: M.T. DeSantis currently resides in a small city on the U.S. eastern seaboard. When not writing, she can be found practicing yoga, attempting to answer trivia questions in restaurants, and plotting her next adventure.
ABOUT THE EDITOR:
Ezzy holds a B.S. in Public Administration and a M.Ed. in School Counseling. Her first published short story “Naranjas Inmortales” will appear in an anthology titled Strange California, and her contemporary YA novel “Where Hazard Meets Newhope” has earned her a spot as a finalist in Laura Pohl’s Pitch América contest for Latinx writers. You can find her @EzzyLanguzzi on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.