She places a small, red apple
on the wooden dresser to her immediate left.

She says that, for the rest of the day,
that apple will be called a toothpick.

later that day in the garden,
we are burying the second mailman of the week.

She tells me that mailmen are sent to us occasionally
to help us fertilize the soil, and grow healthier flowers.

That we must use every part of the mailman
and she hands me another pair of blue cargo shorts.

Inside, after supper we’re sitting at the table
eating freshly baked toothpick pie.

She tells me I will start school tomorrow
and that the classroom will be in the den.

My teacher will look and sound exactly like her
but will not actually be her.

I lay awake that night, staring at the ceiling
Thinking about what school will be like

wondering what things I will learn,
and if my teacher will like my cargo shorts.

The Very Worst Time to Talk About Pencils

She has a mouth full of cereal
and her hair up with a pencil.

The pencil has a lot of eraser left
and I want to tell her that the pencil

would be a very good pencil
to use as a pencil, and not as a hair thing.

This strikes me as a strictly asshole thing to say
but it’s just that we have better pencils for such things

ones with little to no eraser,
or crummy leads that are always broken.

Pencils made in China or Korea
or other countries where they don’t always make pencils so well.

She asks what we’re going to do today
and I can’t concentrate, and I want to tell her

that we should probably buy some hair clips
or at the very least some chinese pencils.

But now I’ve taken too long to answer
and she’s giving me the look.

And I recognize this as the very worst time
to talk about pencils.