With one wide sweep of her hand
she made the crumbs from snack time
fly into the air like balloons launched
from a child’s fingertips. Then, as if struck
with a pin before they could soar
too high, they fell to the floor, gathering
there like kids anticipating story time.
I sat in the back, chickenpox scars
sprinkling my face like flecks
of food that littered the carpet.
The tap-tap-tap of paper slapping the desk
spoiled the silence. My teacher
hovered over me, sending stacks
of makeup work sailing into my folder.
My classmates were still.
Their pencils floated above
the black dots on the paper
as if they were bees preparing
to land on the middle of a flower.
The teacher’s voice roused them:
“Maybe we can play connect
the dots with your face.”
Her teeth poked out of her
gums, while children added
sound to her grin. I covered
my ears. My mouth rested
in a straight line.
Now, when I see a child pushed
by a peer or sitting alone behind
a throng of whispering students,
I begin to form connections,
although the picture that emerges
in my mind is one I’d rather
This poem was originally published in The Main Street Journal and on my website, christinebarba.com.
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