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Nothing But Chalk

A Rambling Righting Riley - Shauna Riley Avatar  Send Soup Mail  Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Nothing But Chalk which was written by poet A Rambling Righting Riley - Shauna Riley. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Nothing But Chalk

She sits there in the back of the class, doodling on her paperwork. Getting lost in 
the scribbles, tuning out the teacher, forgetting all the madness around her, her life 
fading in the paper. Slap! The sound of the ruler splintering across the desk. PAY 
ATTENTION! Head jerking upward, she sits up in her little desk. Pencil dropping from 
her hand, rolling off onto the floor. She looks straight ahead, back straight as a 
board, eyes glued ahead as the teacher drones on. Drilling things into their heads, 
eyes sharp like an eagle. Looking for every chance to catch someone falling asleep, 
to catch someone passing notes, to catch someone whispering. The little girl quietly 
picks up her pencil and her mind drifts to dreaming of playing dress up, drifts to the 
path the lead makes on the paper. The curves of a woman, not a little girl. Dreaming 
of growing up into a woman. Confident, pretty, smart, strong....someone people will 
notice....a woman with a voice. Slap! The ruler across her hand. She jerks it back, 
clasping it to her chest. Instant sting, instant redness and she feels the tears start 
to pool in her eyes, her lip quivering to hold back the yelp. Pay attention! You’re not 
listening! I asked you a question young lady. Should I repeat it? She’s so scared 
that she can’t even speak so she just meekly nods her head. Hard as steel, cold as 
ice, the teacher repeats the question. She hangs her head and answers but her 
voice is barely above a squeeking whisper. Speak up! says the teacher. The class 
can’t hear you, I can’t hear you she says. The little girl raises her head and repeats 
her answer. WRONG! Slap! The ruler across her other hand. See if you had been 
paying attention instead of DOODLING, then you wouldn’t have gotten the ruler. 
You’ll make sure next time you will listen now won't you. The little girl doesn’t 
answer, doesn’t speak up. She doesn’t want the ruler again. So she carefully and 
quietly lays her pencil on her little wooden desk that bares the markings of many 
ruler slappings. And on her little wooden desk, she rests her hands that bare the 
scars of many ruler slappings. She stares straight ahead at the chalkboard, 
unwavering, searing a hole in the chalkboard. She tries to find the dream of dress 
up, tries to find the girl dressing up as the woman she wants to be. But all she sees 
on the chalkboard…no matter how hard or how long she stares...all she sees on the 
chalkboard.....is nothing but chalk.

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  1. Date: 3/5/2011 12:38:00 PM
    This read allows the reader to step into the little girl's shoes. I can picture the scene perfectly as I read it. You did a great job with setting up the scene and charaters.