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Drawn Out

Honorable Mention – 2018 Poetry Contest

Reticent, needs drawing out, Miss Rinehart

scribbled on my sixth-grade report card.

I vowed to never return, but instead

found myself rehearsing for the class play.

Co-stars Eugene and I headed a cast

of tall flowers played by the pluckier pupils

whose costumes were marvels—green wraps

with face-framing petals big as umbrellas.

 

Surrounded by crepe paper arms, I asked

to be a peony, but Miss Rinehart said

I was born to be The Little Girl and Eugene

The Little Boy. At rehearsal I had to hold

 

Eugene’s sweaty hand, then run like the wind

when he tried to walk me home. 

I was to wear white shoes, so Mother borrowed

a cousin’s clunky lace-up brogues. 

 

The star should wear sandals, I mumbled, 

but Mother stuffed the ugly boats with cotton,

coated them with watery polish, and that was that. 

On the dread day, the auditorium hummed, 

 

a clamorous garden materialized on stage,

and The Little Girl and Little Boy stood

among twenty-nine bowing blossoms, some

sprouting new sandals. We remembered our lines.

 

The audience clapped. Miss Rinehart smiled,

took me aside, said I’d done the school proud.

I returned the shoes, avoided Eugene, 

staged a life of success as best I could.

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Contributors

Jeri McCormick, founder of Fireweed Press and long-time teacher of creative writing in senior centers and the Elderhostel program, co-edited two texts on writing with Haworth Press.

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