First Day of School

First Day of School

copyright 2017

First day of school –
Only one more child left,
Entering tenth grade,
Not exactly one for posing for photos.
She humours her mother,
Standing on the front step,
Refusing to hold a sign,
But at least she’s smiling.
Only two more years,
And the front step will be empty,
Grandchildren will be on other steps.

First day of school –
Finally all six children in school,
The youngest happily grinning,
Holding up a big sign:
It’s her first day ever,
Her sisters rolling their eyes,
It’s been nine and eleven years,
And the newness is wearing thin.
It will be rare for them all
To be on the front step together,
Four girls and two boys,
A perfect half-dozen –
They’ll soon be scattered like rose petals,
Gradually disappearing from the front step.

First day of school –
Two identical girls in matching uniforms,
Even as teenagers still wanting to be alike,
Their hair identical, only their mother can tell them apart.
Their little brother is tiny in front of them,
In his brand-new little shorts and jumper,
Excited and nervous for his first day.
The girls will take the transit together,
Their parents will take the boy,
New schools for them all.

First day of school –
Smiling girls aged ten and twelve,
Waving at the camera for their granny and granddad,
It was a simply ritual they performed,
Before being whisked off to school by their father,
Who hated ever to be apart from them,
Lest they disappear like his brother did,
He made sure they went safely inside,
Then tried not to cry as he drove to work.

First day of school –
Three happy children,
Two boys and a girl,
Proudly holding signs:
Sixth grade!
Fourth grade!
Second grade!
Then their mother, cheekily grinning,
Held up another:
Sixteen years a teacher!
Their father laughed, blinking back tears,
Another girl – a young woman, really,
Lingers in the doorway.
College Junior, her sign reads,
Barely visible above the others.
One by one, they will disappear,
But he would always have his teacher.

First day of school –
But no children at all to go,
Her youngest would have been in tenth grade,
Her eldest a full-grown woman,
Perhaps a mother in her own right,
There would have been eight all together,
But no children had ever stood on her front step,
None had ever stood at all.

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