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In just a few days I will be indulging in the remaining days of summer on Lake Michigan with loved ones. My thoughts are held more closely to myself during the pre-vacation planning so I will share another’s thoughts that may inspire your own summer delight. This is a poem I have been enjoying this summer and am taking with me to the beach. Cheers to the final summer month to each of you.
What You Missed that Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade
Brad Aaron Modlin
Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,
how peeling potatoes can be a from of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark.
After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s
voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you had forgotten to do something else —
something important — and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted
Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,
and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.
The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.
And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,
and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person
add up to something.