Cursive

Today I decided to share a poem I wrote recently with a question to readers — do you remember the teacher who taught you to write in cursive? I hope this poem brings back some happy memories of elementary school.

Cursive

In the pre-dawn lightness
the first dove coos
her five note song –
Oo ah oo – oo oo.

It is a red mug day with
coffee steam rising gently
below my nostrils
onto my reading glasses.

Pen on paper
I notice the careful way it fits along my fingers,
and ask myself to remember
the name of the woman who taught me cursive
and the name of the man who fashioned it.

I smile at my silliness
58 years have passed
since that cold linoleum basement-
room of Garfield Elementary.

My childhood eyes peer up and out
the casements windows filled with sun.
The cloak room smells of wool and rubber
from winter days long gone.

Years of white dust glistens in the air.
Back- row desks hold childhood carvings.
Balls, jump ropes and hop-scotch chalk
sit in the metal bin beside the door.

Down the hall the bathroom –
Where I refused to pee.

Valentine boxes decorated with doilies and red construction paper,
their open-mouthed slits wait impatiently
begging for twenty-one cheap
pre-packaged cards to prove I am equal.

May baskets and May-poles,
Santas colored carefully inside the lines.
Big Chief writing tablets, sharply pointed pencil marks
carefully touching lines above and below.

Crisp white collared plaids adorn my body.
Brown and white oxfords laced on my feet.
Newly permed brown curls frame my face in
front-row class pictures every year.

Charlie Brown teacher voices fill my head
Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.
And on the dreaded playground
await memories of being chosen last.

Perhaps it was my lack of coordination
that made me strive so hard for stars and A’s,
pushed me toward perfection
that I never felt I gained.

Miss Benson, Third Grade.
Palmer Method of Cursive Writing.

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