KINDERGARTEN–THE FIRST DAY
Outside the classroom door, I hesitate, unsure, anxious. Softly crying, “I want to go home.”
Inside, a young teacher. Slender, soft voice, pretty hair, pretty dress. Still… “ I want to go home.”
“All mothers must leave. It will be fine.”
No. Not fine. “ WANT…TO…GO…HOME!"
"Stop that or you'll get a spanking."
I don’t like her. She’s shaking me and she’s not pretty. My new shoes slip across the floor as she pulls me to a place on the rug.
The other children, all looking. Beginning to sniffle, whimper, cry. Getting louder. I’m louder still.
“HOME…WANT TO GO HOME!”
A different voice. Deeper. Older. A giant in a dark dress. Stiff gray hair pulled back and steel gray eyes behind steel-rimmed glasses. She’s pulling me to the front of the room, to a chair where she sits. Lifting me up and over her knees. A brown leather strap in her hand, like Grandpa uses to sharpen his razor. One Whack! Across my bottom.
"Are you going to stop that noise?” she asks, “Or do you want another spanking?"
Silence from the other children. The giant and I look at each other. I don’t like her, either, but I say nothing. Sniff back the mucus and rub tears from my face. And still say nothing. All morning, I say nothing.
Just before school is over, a summons to the principal's office. The giant again, sitting at a large desk. "For being a good girl the rest of the morning,” she says.
bouquet of flowers –
small hands hold tightly
the wet stems