There is gold paint under my nails,
A ten-thousand-dollar bill in my back pocket.
From the children who sat in my lap this morning,
Who called me over, timid, to ask for help.
Some steadied themselves with a hand on my leg
And I rooted myself to the floor.
I know feeling so small can make you
Afraid you might float away unnoticed
Or curl yourself into the size of a pea
When nobody’s watching.
I know how it is to feel unloved by a teacher
So I love them all, from the beginning.
Only hoping I could be someone to them
Whose name they remember the next day
Or whom they only recall as
A sturdy oak tree anchored in the earth.
Tonight, I will think of the children
Surely more than they will think of me
And their laughter and wild philosophies
Will give me strength to stay a little longer.