Friday, August 19, 2016

HARDWARE STALL by Jack, Misu, Timothy & Binh, age 9 & Angelina, age 8

Hardware Stall
By Jack, Misu, Timothy, Binh & Angelina 

Bottles jailed in plastic linger on the shelf, and tubes of glue dangle from the ceiling. 
Cans of spray paint roost in cabinets 
like sleeping canaries.
Behind the counter, 
the owner’s teeth 
sink into a chunk of apple.
Light pours onto her cheekbone,
eyes lock on the unknown.

Above her,
tape measures hang like 

spiders from silk.

Here is the same piece as a graphic poem with illustrations by the whole class!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

MAY GAME DAY, a poem by the kids in Room 2

May Game Day  

I have only been on earth 3285 days, first daughter, last born.
I am the second kid and the first daughter. I have a sister but she is not born yet.
I was born First, Last, and Only, 3825 Days of Life.

I wonder if I will be a soccer player when I grown up.
I wonder if my baby sister is going to use old socks and acorns to create collages that are rough on one side and smooth on the other side.
I know the earth is green and blue when you look at it from space.

Seven years ago:
On my birthday an abandoned land mine from Cambodia’s civil war killed 6 people.

Six years ago:
Indigo colored curtains
lingered in front
of a dusty window,
sun rays filtering
through the gymnasium’s
glass door
onto my face.
I squinted my eyes.
My dress fluttered
as my coach tossed
me into the air,
I spun and spun.
No sound
came out of
my mouth.
I closed
my eyes
as I landed in her gentle yet
strong arms.

3 year ago,
I moved to
My passport was
It said my country was
In the picture inside,
I am a baby.

Six years ago,
I fell down the stairs in my house in Saigon.
Blood dripped onto the railing.
My mom and dad took me in a taxi to the hospital
where doctors put stitches above my left eye.
The scar still feels red
but it doesn’t look red anymore.

Five years ago:
A table cloth splotched with stains
of moldy lemonade.
Rays of sunlight striping the unmade
bed a rosy sunset.
Cars blaring their muffled horns, drowning the sound
of the glitching TV.
A dragonfly landing on the antennae
like a shiny earring.

Five years ago:

The sun peeks through aluminum colored clouds.
They fade away, one at a time
My first step
into preschool,
through the crowd,
past my
like a
squirming caterpillar
through a
swarm of monarchs.
The smell
of dried up paint
and unwashed dollhouse aprons
into the air.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
cut-out trees
cling to the wall                                                                                                                                                         as if they were
about to spin a web.
Kids running
in every direction,
everyone like a magnet;
attracting and

One year ago:

my dad poked a needle through my ears.
It hurt and I said, “Don’t do it,” but he said,
“We have to do it.”
When he was done, a loop of red string dangled
from each half-heart-shaped flap of skin.

One year ago:

a rookie cop shot a kid that had a fake gun.


A girl named Julia got killed by her own mom.


I got in trouble because I was reading
when I was supposed to be
subtracting fractions
so I got sent to the office.
The punishment was
but I just grabbed a book
from the shelf
to read.
So the punishment
was actually

Donald Trump is winning.

It’s May Game Day and all I want is an American Girl doll.


Report card day. Mine says 4,4,4,4,3,3,3.
It doesn’t tell things like how many times
I bumped my head on the slide.
Or that if you do a lot of backbends
your back goes CRACK!
It does not say anything about the time
raindrops sprinkled onto my popsicle like a sweet topping
and I licked them off.
It does not tell you about the time I jumped off
a plastic chair in Vietnam and got a cut
or the time I went to Payless
with my grandma and she pulled a box
of shoes from the middle of the stack
and all of the boxes fell down.
It does not tell you about the time
I broke my headband
and used it as a hoola hoop
for my doll.
It does not tell you about
when I had a bad hair day
or how many times I cried this year,
or when I got a cavity,
or hurt somebody.

Three months from now:

I will be in fourth grade
and we are going
to have bigger numbers
to divide
like 1,000
or infinity,
but infinity
divided by two
is still infinity
because it’s

Forever from now:

The sun will become
a supernova,
then collapse
into a black hole
and everything will

Monday, August 15, 2016


Read the all-text version of this graphic mini-novel here.