Middle School [The First Day]

April 10, 2013

As he looks at the seedling his mom
left under the porch all winter just to see
if it would try to grow come spring,
he tries to think like he is gravity itself.
He arranges the dirt, the water, then the sky
—both horizons—as if they were alike,
the dirt touching sea, the sea touching the sky.
The truth is, a glance from either one
will kill the plant. It’s like in reincarnation,
the real miracle lies in the first self’s belief;
or take meiosis in biology, the real miracle
must be in that first cell, its volta. I mean, what
a day that first plant must have had when it
first turned and grew towards the sun.

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4 Responses to “Middle School [The First Day]”

  1. John Stevens Says:

    This is a celebration, isn’t it, of first moments and new departures, of those wafer-thin moments through which we pass and commit ourselves to an irreversible changed state. I love the image you give us of the boy on his first morning setting out to a new school and a new stage in life, coupled with the plant on the point of spring. You talk about biology quite a bit in this short poem, but it also puts me in ind of physics – those hints of infinite space as the boy looks up into the sky and out towards the horizons – and thinks of gravity. And all this at the precise, unstable moment of time in which he pauses on his way out from the house. I like this one a lot, Jim. It’s a great deal bigger on the inside than on the outer.

  2. extrasimile Says:

    A great deal bigger on the inside than the outer! Well, I’m charmed, Mr. Stevens. Thank you. Yes, it is a celebration. Perhaps not for me returning to middle school exactly—we called them junior high schools way back then—but for a modern me attending today. That would call for a celebration; no use being constrained by puny time. By the way, look up ‘meiosis’ when you have a spare moment. Consider the non-biological use.
    Those wafer thin moments…I wonder, if you pile enough of them together, will they fill up those infinite horizons? I think there will be some more Middle School poems, John. Thanks again.

  3. Anna Mark Says:

    I enjoyed this one, too, and John’s comment above. I’m intrigued by how the boy tries to think that he is gravity itself. He is rather god-like arranging the earth, sky and water, those untouchable horizons, a glance from either one would kill the plant — I am arrested here as in the end with the question/statement:

    I mean, what
    a day that first plant must have had when it
    first turned and grew towards the sun.

    And the first self in the system of reincarnation, the first self’s belief (oh, that word — belief). What a juxtaposition, all on the first day of school?? Reincarnation, seedlings, first bend toward the sun, belief…and those horizons.

    Ah, what a poem! I enjoyed it very much ; )

  4. extrasimile Says:

    Thanks, Anna. Sorry its taken me so long to get back to you on this. I’m reading back in and attempt to find some closure for the Middle School poems. And to find some thing to open up again. A nice can of worms, if possible.


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