Congratulations to 8th grader Hannah Dineen for winning a regional award in the Boston Globe’s Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program for her work. Hannah submitted a poem she wrote called, 5, 6, 7, 8, Middle School on My Fingers for the “Yous Vignette” project in Ms. Kosberg’s English class. The 8th grade English project was inspired by Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street, in which students write personal poetic narratives using figurative language and stylistic devices like metaphor, personification, and alliteration.
5, 6, 7, 8, Middle School on My Fingers
Five fingers and a gap tooth smile.
Constricted pebbled hallways, nodding when you trotted past
Artwork dancing around the gleaming marble walls, collaged hands waving adieu.
Yellow rimmed stairs, just a few floors higher this time.
All the way in the back of the hugged tight theater.
Rows of purple seats never looked so new, and copper polish wafts seemed so strange.
The top of the world and the bottom of the food chain.
More crimson stamped letters on scribbled pieces of paper.
Who is who, use the sneakers. Three musketeers.
I can’t shoot to save my life.
Echoed giggles rimmed over the basketball court.
All for one and one for all.
Six Fingers and a rain soaked sweater.
Aromas of confidence, been there, done that.
Stubborn lockers that smelled like molded speckled gym socks.
This way, that way, I know such a maze, no problem!
Tall and skittish, whitewashed blonde hair.
Yeah, I’ll show her around.
Bits of frost running across tensed grass.
Neon orange chairs, we sat five. Corner of the raging dining hall. Choirs of booming voices.
Just in the back. Our place. We could look through the glass onto the blind stone walls.
Open books across the gym mats while they husted and pivoted.
We never played tag anymore.
The remains of the playground crushed by stooped yellow vehicles.
Spinning watercolour dresses, pink oil paint on my nose, and a little bit on her cider orange headband.
Orange just like her first grade sneakers.
Though we laughed about the wasted paint
because the clock restricted times we had left to do so.
Dizzy grass fields and blushing daisies. Cartwheels and falls.
But even gravity couldn’t restrict us.
No one could.
In the rigid gates garden we couldn’t grow old.
Red brick driveways, tight smiles, and trembling waves.
Golden days that had been streaked with black tar.
Five musketeers, four musketeers, three musketeers, two musketeers.
I don’t think I could even say goodbye.
Seven fingers and restless breathing.
Long sleeves because that’s how first days always are.
Warm sunshine reflections, piercing hot turf fields like shards of glass.
Just residue left over because fall isn’t ready yet.
Timid, where do I go now? Who do I ask?
Can’t talk to them now
Them is gone.
5 empty black chairs
Memories like perfect little photo albums, tucked away because.
That won’t help you now.
Then I said hello.
Soft muttered words that fell slowly like foggy shallow breaths.
Laughter like golden bells.
Swinging on new shiny playgrounds. Sparkling in the winking spring clouds.
Cramped halls, and people like ants.
Music from the balcony, the grade above you moving on. Like frothy salt tides, rocking slowly against golden beaches.
Tight embraces and fancy suits.
Dainty frolicing tears, and whispered congratulations
Not goodbye this time.
Just until we meet again.
Eight fingers and a closed mouth smile.
Let’s go we will be late!
Funny how easy it is when it’s like your old favourite song.
Hints of past, and you flow right in.
The river swaying along the rocky shores as it glides.
Little worries speckled like robins eggs.
Shimmering diamonds always arise from clenched rocks.
A few more stretched days left.
Tired mornings, and desperate afternoons.
Perfect pen printed essays, and late night projects.
Grinning lunchtimes, and proud moments.
And more stories.
Little patterns of blunt letters.
Just hanging off