Sixty-four crayons lined up
in perfect color ordered rows
in my spotless yellow Crayola box.
One #2 pencil
sharpened and ready
on the right side of my composition notebook.
Two messy brown waves
held together by uneven pigtails
pouring over my white shirt
and down to my plaid jumper.
swaying with excitement
a few inches off the ground.
When Sister Irene shut the lights we knew to be quiet.
Short legs dangling
fingers over lips.
My desk sat at the front left near the door
and the sixty-four crayons
stood crooked next to my name tag.
The light shut on
fingers went down.
Chalk thickened the room when Sister Irene picked up the eraser.
Eyes on the Sister but with the sixty-four crayons in mind,
my hand moved to adjust them
Sixty-four crayons broke the silence
tumbled out of their organized home
scuffed the floor
like colorful civilians running
some of them sacrificed into pieces,
some tainted with the grime of the linoleum floor,
some escaping under closets and desks.
I scrambled out of my seat and onto the floor
and though I wasn’t watching
I could feel Sister Irene move closer.
like lemon juice over paper cuts
carried by a tone no one had ever used in my direction before
penetrated the eager classroom
leaving a bitter presence in their wake.
And when she was done, she paused for a breath before asking,
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”
I could feel her hover over me but I didn’t look up
I didn’t answer.
I sat and cried
Observing my sixty-four crayons
Dismantled on the floor.