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.


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