Laura Bonazzoli: Spelling Lesson
That’s what the sign said
and the tattered blanket
and the worn camo jacket
and the broken teeth
visible though I was keeping my distance
crossing to the market on the other
In the cookie aisle, Jimmy Blanchard froze
at the blackboard, second—
We tell stories.
We tell stories to make sense of our lives.
We tell stories to communicate our experience of being alive.
We tell stories in our own distinct voice. Our own unique rhythm and tonality.
Transformations is a weekly story-telling column. The stories are written by community members who are my students. Our stories will be about family, love, loss and good times. We hope to make you laugh and cry. Maybe we will convince you to tell your stories.
— Kathrin Seitz
“Everyone, when they get quiet, when they become desperately honest with themselves, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.” — Henry Miller
Kathrin Seitz teaches Method Writing in Rockport, New York City and Florida. She can be reached at email@example.com.
third grade spelling dessert
like the place where he died
fifteen years later, not
firing his gun.
How many soldiers, poor and good spellers,
come home to sleep under stars-and-stripes blankets or wander
misspelled and misspelling, seeing
the lines and the dots and the curves but finding
no reason, no pattern, no stripes
I skip the cookies, call him Sir,
give him a five. God bless you,
he says and touches his heart, saluting
the St. Michael’s 7th grade spelling bee champion
who's never choked on desert sand
nor labored to print
on a cardboard sign.
Laura Bonazzoli is a freelance writer and editor, mainly in the health sciences. Her poetry has been published in Epiphany, Red Dancefloor, and other journals. She lives with her daughter, Lizzi, in Camden.