A First Grade Fall

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                           First Grade

Face down on crumbling crushed rock

of the playground, the first-grade boy

cries and trembles.

Blood drips from his knee and chin,

his face a ghostly white.

He fears his unspeakable sin,

faces a scolding and slap

from a black-frocked nun,

like the older boys she whacked

while other kids snickered.

Secreting his shame, he

flees from goblins— escapes,

in tears, gasping air,

the two blocks home


to the womb of his

mother’s arms.

Playing kickball,

he had tripped on gravel,

ripped his pants,

scraped his knee and face.

(“I didn’t see the stones!”)

The gentle woman wipes away

the splattered blood, cleanses

the salt from his guilt and tears,

swabs iodine

(“It hurts!”)

changes his clothes and caresses him.

Cradling his limp hand,

she leads him back to school.

His teacher nun, perplexed

by such odd behavior, says nothing,

only smiles and guides him to his desk:

this wandering waif,

this soul adrift

in a haze and meandering maze

of a wide mysterious world.

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- Total nr. of readings: 3,892 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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