Today I combine Poetry Friday with my Celebration post. Join this week's round-up with Kathryn Apel.
As I was giving a test on Friday at school, a former student came to my room and asked me if I would read something she had written and tell her what I thought. The assignment was to write from the voice of an inanimate object. Kaitlyn's writing left me speechless.
A colleague describes Kaitlyn as an "old soul" and this description could not be more perfect. The words which come from her pen are full of imagery. Her vocabulary is beyond that of a 7th grader, and her sentence structure is something which cannot be taught.
I told her I thought she could work this into a stunning poem, adding line breaks to deepen the meaning and make the lyrical imagery stand out. But when I shared it with Margaret Simon, she said it could be left as a prose poem.
So, today I share and celebrate her work with you.
I am paper. I am frail and faint, sitting in a stack of thousands just like myself, collecting more and more dust by the second. My skin crawls against the soft wind of her door opening, and then closing. Her humming echos throughout the bedroom. I can hear her tossing the brown rucksack down. I now know, it’s time to write. She gently scoops me up in her hands, taking me away from the others. But I know, I will see them again. I wish I could reach out a hand as soft as hers, but I cannot. For I am not real. She’s begun her writing now. Although I cannot see the words her pencil writes on my skin, I feel her story coming to life. I can feel every squiggle, line, and eraser mark she makes as she trails down my vibrant blue veins. When the pencil drops from her delicate hands, sadness washes over me like rain on a sunny day. But of course, she’s still smiling. She’ll never truly feel this pain that runs through my blue lines. As she steps up from her chair, I feel different. Shreds of my flaky paper skin begin dancing around the room. I see her eyes shining bright from the slight distance. And then time stops. She hesitantly brushes a hands across my cheek. I feel her arms wrap around me in a hug. Impossible, I think to myself. But I look down. I am human. My shreds of paper skin have become real. I have arms and legs and a torso, too. I am human, like her. But something is wrong. My flaky paper skin is falling apart now. I am becoming nothing more than paper again. She grasps my forearms, as I do the same to her. I am fading fast, too fast. But then I realize, I am paper. I am the body of a book. And with that book, a spine. We are all held together by nothing more than words. Her beautiful words. I feel her grip tightening as I take my paper form once more. But before I am completely lost, I tell her this, “I love you, but you’re real.”
And this is how your story becomes real. But is it really a story if the words don’t dance across the pages? Is it really a story if you aren’t a part of the same world? And is it really a story if a piece of you isn’t left between the spine?