Child Train

(On another drive through Lisbon Ohio, December 18th)

This morning a long child train holds up traffic just east of the town square

Crossing the road, the train boasts about a hundred “cars” (extremely small school kids) chugging along in single file, attached here and there to “large cars” (adults) led by a “large engine” in the front and pushed by one at the end

All cars are painted with colorful coats, scarves, boots, gloves, and stocking caps absolutely no graffiti visible

The train chatters happily and clatters noisily, while winding its way across the road, down the sidewalk, up a ramp, and gradually disappears into a yawning tunnel through a big mountain (a church building)

A sign by the tunnel explains that a Christmas play is showing

This time, the usual irritation that comes while waiting for long freight trains is not felt



Summer is Lost

(We drove through Liberal, Kansas today and noticed this scene)

Fresh, delicious, inviting water

flows freely throughout the many

rides in the large water park

No youthful splashing, jumping, laughing, running

even with the sun scorching through the heavy, humid air

on the sizzling August summer day

Oh, wait!

Summer has ended—school just began


Windy Competitions


What a trip! With a blurred vision horizon, dust smackling hard against the windows, a blue sky only visible straight above (like through a tunnel), and tumbleweeds flying by the hundreds across the road, catching and scraping underneath the bus, or slapping like rocks into its side. My iPod volume is way over the safe decibel level. I turn it off. The wind shoves the bus around violently, roughing it up like the football team slamming repeatedly against the opposing team. I call my husband to let him know I love him, just in case the bus tips over or I end up in Oz.

Then I notice the coach, Miss D, ignoring it all like she’s in her living room, eating a sandwich, texting avidly, and relaxing behind the driver and his huge front window; a window that just invites someone to use it as a sudden exit. Keeping my eyes on Miss D, enough of her confidence gradually oozes over in my direction, steadily easing me into breathing deep and enjoying the free wild ride to a Forensics Tournament.

Arriving at the tournament safely, almost two hundred students compete against each other with words—rather like the wind storm outside competing against the crazy humans running between the school buildings to reach their contest rooms, and competing against the buildings and trees. Guess what? The humans win!

The Voices



on voices

over voices under voices

Roaring waterfall

Cataracts falling in never ending waves

bubbling happily excitedly laughingly

living alive

breathing noise in

breathing noise out

Deafening cacophony

Hundreds of students

jammed in a school cafeteria

waiting for final Forensic scores

with clapping sprees, group table drum sessions

laughter whistles talking whoops

yells and tries at cheering

visiting making friends renewing friends

Adults yawn,

smiling at the excitement

at the end of a grueling meet

looking forward to a long drive home



Reading Passions


The heating unit rattled

a student in the other room tapped his desk

some students down the hall chatted

the heating unit ceased, and then somebody in my room sniffled

forcing me to glance up and seek the cause of the abnormal noise

a fellow teacher reading a book while holding a white nose tissue, crying

and I gently asked my fellow teacher if she cried or just suffered a sinus attack

(already knowing the answer)

and she, barely looking up from the book

nodded in assent to one or both of the questions

returning to a very emotional story

while I delicately returned to my computer

leaving her to drown happily in the sea of literarily initiated passions