Poetry On The Odyssey; She Is My Mother

Poetry On Odyssey: She Is My Mother; On The First Day Of First Grade

As the first semester of my senior year comes to a close, I am called to remember my very first day of school.


She Is My Mother; On The First Day Of First Grade

I kept my eyes in my pockets

and I tried to dream. Anxious.

I fell without falling and startled

three times that night.

She put my clothes out

and we'd agreed what she'd pack,

That I would take the bus. White, 53.

She prepared me.

Like she did when the dentist said

"Its nothing, just a little pinch"

She told me already. It's a needle.

With medicine that numbs.

They put it right into your gums,

and it will hurt. But they have to.

So let them and be brave.

When they do it feels like

it will go all the way through.

She promised, it won't.

Keep your eyes in your pockets,

the lights will blind.

I tried.

All day. I observed and noticed.

Find your name, that is your desk.

Raise one finger for the bathroom.

"Stay in line, follow me."

Guided through a labyrinth

lit by long bulbs and decorated

by rules and rainbows.

Everything as she said, was.

I believed and trusted and stayed in line.

I was good.

I took my jacket from my cubby

and my backpack off the hook.

In my hand a sun-yellow paper bus, 79.

Then we bussers separated from

the walkers and I waded into the smell

of gasoline to watch the yellow and black parade.

I felt the cold brown leather beneath me

and watched through long windows

as familiar things faded.

I felt the worry tide rising

helpless to stop the bus.

I waited. I trusted. I tried.

Those were not my neighbors' houses

nor my neighbors waiting

for their happy kids home from school.

Last stop. I stepped down.

No one was waiting for me.

The breeze blew the last

kids home and sent the bus fumes on their way.

The air was wide and alone.

I looked around and saw nothing I knew.

Nothing I could place.

As every child in need,

I cried.

I tried.

She prepared me.

I knew her numbers.

I told them to a stranger in a

dimly lit kitchen, less clean than hers.

She came for me in socked feet.

She held me and I

put my eyes in my pockets.

We drove the one block to home.

As this poem describes, on the first day of first grade my elementary school sent me home on the wrong bus. The images I chose to relate the most the specific images of my memories. I remember vividly the feeling that I was headed the wrong way but was helpless to stop myself. I best recall the sights and smells of the events described in my poem. Because I was only five years old at the time, my memories were not situational or sequential. They were emotional and much of my experiences have been pieced back together by the images in my memories. I relate the presence of my mother throughout the poem but do not name her. In my life, she was ever present, and leaving her care to attend my first day of school, only to be mishandled and misguided made my reunion with her incredibly important. The specifics of my experience, the white and yellow bus names and numbers, and the classroom policies, are all true memories. I became lost, but because of the things my mother taught me, I was able to help her find me. She has always found me.

To be a lost child on the first day of first grade was transformative. I didn't trust other adults very well after that. I had bad dreams for years of being on a bus and watching neighborhoods that look like mine in the yard, but the house was wrong, or half the house was familiar and the other half wasn't. I felt an innate need for independence after that, and the need to care for myself, and to check and double check everything. I was only one block from home but at 3 feet tall, that's a long way.

My Mom moved away this year, and I miss her. I miss her, but I know that she is in me all the time with what she's taught me and who I have become because of her. I miss her, even though I can text her whenever I want. I can call her whenever I want. I think my missing her is really just missing her guiding hand, and the knowledge that if I get lost, she will come find me. She has always been able to find me, even in my darkest places.

This poem is dedicated to her, and every student struggling or lost. I hope this poem finds you, and brings you home.

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10 Signs You Grew Up As A Female Hockey Player

Regardless of when or how long you played, you can probably relate to these 10 things...

Let's face it. At times, it was tough playing a male-dominated sport. But we pushed through. We fought back. We made it normal for girls to play hockey. Of course, we all had a slightly different experience. But regardless of that experience, most of us know these 10 things to be true.

1. When you first started playing as a kid, you were told, "But girls don't play hockey!"

This is especially relevant for those of us who started playing before girls' leagues existed. I still remember the boys who said it to me. I remember their names, their faces, where we were when they said it, and the way my heart sunk every time. As a young, impressionable second grader, this was devastating to me. I loved playing hockey, and I got pretty good during that first year with the boys. I was even better than a lot of them by the end of the season! But none of that seemed to matter when I was constantly being told, "Girls don't play hockey!"

2. You couldn't have fake nails. Ever.

Because they just wouldn't fit into your gloves. Or if they did, they'd get ripped off somehow while you were on the ice. And this wasn't just during hockey season; this was all year. Because for a lot of us, hockey season never ended. We played all year long. I admit, I wasn't as big into the nail thing, so this wasn't much of a concern for me. But I remember this being pretty problematic for some of my teammates.

3. People were constantly saying, "You play hockey? You don't look like you play hockey..."

Well, what am I supposed to look like? A boy...?

4. You smelled absolutely awful after putting your gear on.

Hockey is famous for the horrific, gag-inducing smell that lingers on equipment and the bodies that wear that equipment. And it's not just the guys who smell bad. I am the first to admit that we smell just as bad. Honestly, I bet you could have put on your equipment and taken it off right away and you would still smell horrible even though you didn't break a sweat. I think it's safe to say we're all familiar with the ferocious scrubbing of knees and elbows that is required to tame the smell.

5. You've punched someone before. And it felt good.

Put 35 extremely competitive women out on the ice, and you're bound to have some scrums. So you've probably let your fists fly a couple of times. And wow, did it feel good. Of course, if you got a penalty you probably regretted it a little bit. But a small part of you was always happy you did it.

6. You had no chirping game. Most of the time.

You probably reused the same two curse words over and over again because you didn't know what else to say. But every once in a while, a brilliant line would roll off your tongue. Those were always good days.

7. You got frustrated because people didn't take you (or women's hockey, in general) seriously.

There is nothing more annoying. My college team was once kicked off the ice early so that a boys' high school JV team could skate. What a low blow. Not to mention, a lot of referees probably told you to smile more or cracked stupid jokes or simply didn't pay attention to the play. Would that have happened in a men's game? Probably not. Sigh...

8. Your sexuality was probably questioned at one point or another.

Women's hockey is one of the sports where it's expected that if you participate you're probably gay or bisexual. Obviously, this is untrue, but it really shouldn't matter anyway.

9. When you got on the ice before practice, there were usually a few clusters of girls skating around, just talking.

Of course, once practice started, everyone stopped talking so much. But for those first few minutes, while half of the team shot on the nets and worked on stickhandling, the other half caught up on each other's lives and finished conversations that had been started in the locker room. We've all been both types of people—it really just depends on the day.

10. Your teammates were like your sisters.

You saw them almost every day. You went on long road trips with them, stayed in hotel rooms with them, spent hours on the bus with them, ate with them, joked with them... I could go on. That's why you probably got so aggressive and started punching people on the ice sometimes! Because no one messes with your sisters... No one messes with your family.

Cover Image Credit: Bri Flynn

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The Human Mind Is Etrxraoidrnay

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Can you read this article with perfect fluidity, or maybe not perfect, but with little to no trouble at all? Well, that's your uoncsncuios mind at work. A Cambridge study found that this is baecsue the brain does not read every letter individually but isntaed reads the word as a whole, and we are able to read the sentence whtiuot much trouble as long as the first and last letters are in the correct place.

This phenomenon has a more than a fttinig name in Typoglycemia, in which readers are able to decipher a text even with mssipeslilngs and misplaced ltteres.

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As you have probably breezed through the mispellings throughout the article try this one as it is much harder than the rest. The answer is at the bottom


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