Swimming in the swimming pool
is where I like to “B,”
wearing underwater goggles
so that I can “C.”
Yesterday, before I swam,
I drank a cup of “T.”
Now the pool’s a “swimming ool”
because I took a “P.”
A BB gun.
A model plane.
A ’lectric train.
A cowboy hat.
A comic book.
A baseball bat.
A deck of cards.
A science kit.
A racing car.
A catcher’s mitt.
So that’s my list
that Santa Claus
forgot to bring.
Our substitute is strange because
he looks a lot like Santa Claus.
In fact, the moment he walked in
we thought that he was Santa’s twin.
We wouldn’t think it quite so weird,
if it were just his snowy beard.
But also he has big black boots
and wears these fuzzy bright red suits.
He’s got a rather rounded gut
that’s like a bowl of you-know-what.
And when he laughs, it’s deep and low
and sounds a lot like “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
He asks us all if we’ve been good
and sleeping when we know we should.
He talks of reindeers, sleighs, and elves
and tells us to behave ourselves.
And when it’s time for us to go
he dashes out into the snow.
But yesterday we figured out
just what our sub is all about.
We know just why he leaves so quick,
and why he’s dressed like Old Saint Nick
in hat and coat and boots and all:
He’s working evenings at the mall.
Inside my lunch
to my surprise
a perfect heart-shaped
love note lies.
The outside says,
“Will you be mine?”
and, “Will you be
I take it out
and wonder who
would want to tell me
“I love you.”
Perhaps a girl
who’s much too shy
to hand it to me
eye to eye.
Or maybe it
was sweetly penned
in private by
a secret friend
Who found my lunchbox
and slid the note in
on the sly.
Oh, I’d be thrilled
if it were Jo,
the cute one in
the second row.
Or could it be
Has she found out
I’m sweet on her?
My mind’s abuzz,
my shoulders tense.
I need no more
of this suspense.
My stomach lurching
in my throat,
I open up
my little note.
Then wham! as if
it were a bomb,
inside it reads,
“I love you—Mom.”
“Good morning, dear students,” the principal said.
“Please put down your pencils and go back to bed.
Today we will spend the day playing outside,
then take the whole school on a carnival ride.
“We’ll learn to eat candy while watching TV,
then listen to records and swing from a tree.
We’ll also be learning to draw on the walls,
to scream in the classrooms and run in the halls.
“So bring in your skateboard, your scooter, your bike.
It’s time to be different and do what you like.
The teachers are going to give you a rest.
You don’t have to study. There won’t be a test.
“And if you’d prefer, for a bit of a change,
feel free to go wild and act really strange.
Go put on a clown suit and dye your hair green,
and copy your face on the Xerox machine.
“Tomorrow it’s back to the regular grind.
Today, just go crazy. We really don’t mind.
So tear up your homework. We’ll give you an A.
Oh wait. I’m just kidding. It’s April Fools’ Day.”
We’re having a Halloween party at school.
I’m dressed up like Dracula. Man, I look cool!
I dyed my hair black, and I cut off my bangs.
I’m wearing a cape and some fake plastic fangs.
I put on some makeup to paint my face white,
like creatures that only come out in the night.
My fingernails, too, are all pointed and red.
I look like I’m recently back from the dead.
My mom drops me off, and I run into school
and suddenly feel like the world’s biggest fool.
The other kids stare like I’m some kind of freak—
the Halloween party is not till next week.