Jul/Aug 2017 Poetry

Disorder Enters Grade 4B

by Marjorie Mir

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

Disorder Enters Grade 4B

I was late arriving that morning
when my mother filled my arms
with flowers still wet
and weighted with fragrance,
just cut from our backyard border.
"For the teacher," she said.

Seduced away from what I knew
of that joyless, ordered room,
I walked slowly, breathing
their freshness, closeness,
burdened with the presence,
the envelopment of pleasure.

The lesson had begun, continuing
as I walked in carrying, of all things,
a sprawling bouquet.
I, whose wish was to be unnoticed,
was suddenly, in my eyes,
too visible, uncertain now
how to part with my absurd
and misplaced gift.

Goaded by my mother's wish,
still clinging to a shred of hope,
I pushed my way past shyness,
dropped them on the teacher's desk.
How easily, just here, a gesture,
a word could reshape memory
and did not.
Instead, sent back, the gift ignored,
I took my seat.

Home, at noon, for lunch,
I waited for the question,
"Did she like the flowers?"
struggled for an answer,
head down, eyes fixed on my plate,
ashamed for all of us,
my mother, myself, the teacher,
the flowers for how I had loved them,
their weight in my arms,
morning still on them,
ungiven, still new.


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