For my juniors, who tend to flounder.

The Day We Went Outside

“Find a poem,” I asked them, “outside where it’s nice.”
They stared blankly, through sleep-filled hungry eyes,
And then a girl interrupted the crickets chirping with, “Um, Mrs. Matter-ren, like, why did you hide poems outside for us?”
I smiled knowingly, replying, “They’re actually inside each one of you,” confusing her further.

Armed with writer’s notebooks, highlighters, “Flounder” by Natasha Tretheway, sticky notes, phones, and music, we slugged outside, immediately greeted by the wind.
Most students headed for the raggedy bleachers, while others found each other, pairs underneath the shade of trees.
Traffic moving steadily was one of the only sounds, aside from the rustle of the wind.

It spoke volumes,
Cooling the lost soul from within the muggy, confines of a dimly lit classroom.
Freedom, it sang, as others heard annoyance, their hair whipping around blushing cheeks.
Release, it sang, and still others heard challenges, paper inside notebooks crinkling, moving as words were struggling to make it onto still frustrating blank pages.
Creativity, it sang, while many heard complaints charged with sarcasm like, “So, this is our assignment, really?”

Still others began to hear themselves, their own voices, loud, proud, and clear.
Something they should listen to more often.

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