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What We Wait For, a poem for a 1/2/3 Grade class in 2005 (inspired by Billy Collins' poem Aristotle)

This is the beginning.

The "when they come in" part of the day.

My nervous feelings,

before I know who is

who, or who rides what bus.

This is before I know that Kayson

is a writer or that Scott knows

sign language because e his sister

is deaf. These are things

I don't know in the beginning.

Our butterflies hatch

in the beginning, like all

of us, hatching into first, second,

and third grade students with

a new teacher. To begin with,

I see Marie is beautiful and

kind; Taylor is helpful; Shelby

is a good friend; Morgan

doesn't think she can do it,

but she can, and she does.

In the beginning, I see

Andrea's lovely red hair and

the way Lyle's eyes light up

when he smiles at us. The

beginning is when I see potential

in all students, but I don't know

just how much Christopher reads,

or how kind Ransom is. The beginning

is the blank paper, before

all the stories are written; the

blank art page about to

be illustrated. In the beginning

is Curtis and his dove calls;

Olivia and her chicken stories.

This is the middle.

My comfortable feelings. In our

class, we learn that Joseph is

a good detective, Kyle (the runner) uses

his energy for good (he never

runs when he's not supposed to), and

HannaH has a puppy. We love to see

him grow, like us.

Our trout, and salmon.

Chapter books, and Lacey answering the

question, "Do you think you're a good reader?"

with, "Of course I do!" The middle

is taking a state test.

This is the part where we feel

sad, when Hailey has to leave us,

and happy when Faith joins us,

bringing her goodness to our room.

When Jaedyn moves away,

Phillip comes with so many good

qualities to add to our class.

The middle is Jake bringing his

chess set

and a planter for our Christmas

Cactus. Rayne moves, but writes

us beautiful letters from Blodgett.

Janae brings her lovely smile in

the middle. Michaela too, adds

sparkle to our room. In the middle is

the mystery of McKenzie's lunch,

with a candle in it.

This is the end. Kyle the

reader joins us here, and we're

glad. The end is Ryan reading

fabulously and Cailey asking

to write a book for us. This

is when Jasmine came to us, finally

after we'd waited so long for

her beautiful artwork. The end

is Sam writing a page for Ms. Landry's

book without anyone's help. It is

Josh leaving us in Jefferson, even

though he will take a part of us

with him, wherever he goes. It

is Tori's choose-your-own-adventure

book. It has a happy ending.

The end is a green pen for growth. The end is knowing why gravity

holds us down to earth and also where

Earth is in the planetary line up.

It's knowing how lightning forms.

In the end, we know this is what we

wait for--knowing each other so

well that a look says all we need

to speak, with all the love we need

to give, all wrapped up inside.

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