My first grade teacher had blonde hair in the front and brown in the back, with a middle part and Farrah wings. She often wore brown plaid bell-bottoms and a cream-colored blouse.
She chose me as her helper, clapping erasers or distributing papers. I was a good reader and listener, but, looking back, I suspect she could see how desperately I needed to please adults.
She’s likely gone now. A Google search returned nothing, since I don’t remember her first name. I’m thinking of her today, appreciating her and the dozen other women who raised me outside of my home.
Your walk to school has chapters.
The first chapter tells the neighborhood story,
Streets named after girls,
Where you Big Wheel and roller-skate and
Kick horse chestnuts with the frigid toe of your loafer.
The second chapter tells the city story,
With its gridlocked traffic square.
Conversion van, station wagon, or Chevy Camaro,
They pay you no mind.
The third chapter tells the public school story,
Where the high-diving kids go,
The ice cream eaters, the ones who wear jeans
And spit on your knee-socks.
Chapter four, finally, is
The story of your daily invisibility
Behind the tall brown door.