the teacher 
with her porcelain 
sun-spotted arms
looks up from her desk

the child with an asymmetrical bowl-cut 
asks her to spell


the one with thick rimmed glasses and his name day tomorrow 
yells across the classroom


the chilldren CHILDREN wrap their fists around pencils
curve their mouths
retune the elegy of their grandparent’s GRANDPARENTS’ lullabies

skool / quier / cherch / brutha / korner shup / their / there / they’re

in disgruntled breath
the teacher says 
Sowned SOUND it out
or check the dictionary 

the girl who translated 
her father’s death by motor accident 
between two policemen and the tremble of her mother
whispers to the boy  
that his cat dide DIED on Tuesday

the child who draws flowers 
and builds railroads with LEGO 
is labelled non-verbal by medical professionals 
rips his writing book in two 
his best friend is a child
recently freed from detention  
whose only words 
are yes and no 

the other boys ask him what he did
to be in detention for so long 

a story called Snow White 
with her translucent skin and seven pale dwarves 
captivates the girl’s imagination
while she searches 
th the this that 
throw through though