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Poem: Lines 

blank sheet of paper not totally blank there’s that left margin line and  it seems such a
waste of paper instruction given by the teacher in first grade was   students were not to
venture over or under  it for fear of trolls waiting for some little girl or boy

having felt adventurous today and angry about waste of paper the line is hereby crossed and it’s freeing who put it there anyway another word can be added per line which adds
up to more words per page learned in second grade that if you were the poor kid in class who lived in the town  poor farm down on the river and didn’t have the money you
couldn’t go on the class trip no matter how loud you screamed and no matter how hard you held on to the coat rack and the teacher with the help of the principal could unclench your little fingers and take you down the hall to sit in another class while the rest of your classmates went to somewhere don’t even remember where all that is remembered about
the class trip is Michael  screaming   i wanna gooooo   i wanna goooo   i wanna

feeling exceptionally brave and creative more left is ventured across before it was accomplished shoulders had to be set back feet firmly planted on the floor and fear of the unknown ignored still no trolls now two and a half words can be added per line in third grade the teacher stood a girl up in front of the class said you should be ashamed it is very unladylike of you to display emotion in public after she had hugged her grandfather when
he stopped in the classroom to say hi while driving by the school on his way to

what about over here this space beyond this right margin line more waste overtaking this line is a claim to freedom from lines and square holes  and  round pegs in fourth grade the teacher as she rationed out the little yellow vitamins knew she could demean a black girl
in front of the class for again not having her vitamin money and no one would say or do a

  • Poetry is edited by Phillip Levine.


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