Robert’s black hi-top
fade has been dyed blue
this week, and after
I teach the prompt
to prepare these
third and fourth graders
to write poems
on constellations
they’ve created
by connecting the dots
of an accurate
picture of the night sky
and dismiss the kids
to return
to their tables
to write,


I find him, the last student
to leave the carpet,
lying on the floor,
right cheek pressed down,
his left eye staring
straight ahead
as if the answers
to the galaxy
lie in the particles
of dust he can see
when the light
from the closest star
shimmers in
between the cracks
in the walls
of the classroom.

Click here to read Jeanine Walker on the origin of the poem.

Image: by struvictory, licensed under CC 2.0.

Jeanine Walker:
Over a decade ago, as I started to work for Writers in the Schools programs as both a teaching artist and an administrator and visited nearly a hundred different public schools, I became committed to the idea that poetry can heal. I have immense respect for our classroom teachers, many of whom pay for supplies out of their own pockets and devote countless unpaid hours toward fostering the growth of their students. This piece emerged from a day of teaching poetry when I understood, despite all of our good work, many of our students will continue to have a hard time due to food insecurity, lack of sleep, and other challenges to their well-being. In visiting students who are struggling, I always hope a word or line of poetry will stay with them and emerge later when they need it the most.

Jeanine Walker
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