first day of

active listening for
you and yours

adding and taking away sounds

close eyes and carefully
surround the minutes
with musts
of forms

see your child
object to
shortened recess
because they can’t behave
without enough

poetry and nursery rhymes
buckle-shoe
eight-straight

glued facedown on tabletscreens
turning over
the other personal card spreads
player, player, take a turn

gold beaches
nice fine sand golden
in the warm sun
fuse pinched

at the end
the old itch
of us added
and taken away
inch by inch the days
get shorter

as the sun goes
down sooner
fuse pinched
no more warm sand
golden can’t stay
ponyboy won’t say

what sounds
we left off?
what is the word
that makes a difference?

the short time over mountains
the right way
the right way

to break a child
to break togetherness
separating each the same
first the same as the last

the long days in the car
cooking, mopping
tall grass cubs roll through
tent camps and moose maps
tooth up, tooth down

say it the right way

open the gate
supply the new world
play this game

riddles and rhymes
enchantments
separating sounds
from the rest of the world
ink and oat

one-syllable
two-pictures
side-by-side
cut-out
thumbs-up
thumbs-down
at-risk

chronic absence
builds a culture
of fear-based attendance

don’t move
sit in your seat
test until the grades improve
please-be-on-time scare tactics,

“you don’t want to fall behind
the first day of school!”