Raindrops like bullets
Shattering holes in my sanity
The yard grows wild.
“Rain is like bullets?” Dennis threw a dry erase marker at Esther’s head from the back of the classroom. They were meant to be taking study hall, or rather Esther was; Dennis was in English detention because he was behind an assignment, but no one seemed to be keeping track of him.
“What kind of crap is that? If rain was a bullet, it’d blow your freakin’ head off. Rain isn’t like bullets.”
Esther blocked the marker with her forearm and crossed out a word. “It’s not literal. It’s a haiku.” It was only the first week of school, and already Esther
hated everything, including the smell of the dry erase markers, the
classroom, and Dennis’ shoes. She hated that her mother wanted her to stay after class and join a ‘club;’ she was stuck messing around in the homework lab because she couldn’t go home.
“Haiku!” Dennis let out a huge fake sneeze. “Haiku!”
“Oh, shut up,” sighed Esther under her breath. Dennis had been in her class since second grade, but she never had been able to take his intrusive, jokey manner. “It’s for Mrs. Russo.”
“That cow,” Dennis said dismissively. “She and her ‘make the magic of poetry’ talk, and then she keeps me after because I can’t write poems. What, are you going to do a little dance and sing ‘Rain, Rain, Go Away?’ next? You girls and your poetry.” He said the word as if it stung him.
Stupid male humans
Quite possibly throwbacks from the pool
No swimmers, please!
“Are you writing another one?” Dennis’ chair legs landed on the floor with a thump. “Didn’t she only say we needed one?”
“We need to have five by the end of the week,” Esther told him. “We’re supposed to use words to evoke strong emotion, and give five examples of atmosphere in our daily haikus.”
“Daily?” Dennis sounded outraged. I hate crap like this! Nobody else has to write poems, for the whole rest of their lives, except in school. This is so lame!”
What will be will be
School work to life’s work, place exchanging
“Sometimes I don’t think I’m going to make it,” Dennis said gloomily. He looked out the rain spitting down on the sidewalk, at the gray sky and the drooping trees. “I mean, does it really matter if I can identify a haiku? No. Does it matter if I can write a sestina? No. And don’t get me started on all that literature junk. It’s a total waste. It’s the first week of school, and I can’t take anymore already.”
Esther, who preferred school to home, uncapped another dry erase marker.
“Are you writing another one?” Dennis asked incredulously.
Everything gained and nothing put back
Take in every drop.
“Dennis?” Mrs. Russo stood in the doorway. “Have you thought of a topic for your haiku? Oh, hello, Esther. Are you helping him?”
Esther hunched her shoulders. “I guess,” she muttered.
“We’re writing about rain,” Dennis said grimly. “And how it makes you want to shoot yourself.”
There was a pause. Mrs. Russo winced. “I see,” she said finally. “Well.”
“We’ve written almost five,” Dennis said hopefully, ignoring Esther’s shocked and furious hiss. “Isn’t that enough?”
“Oh, it’s more than enough,” Mrs. Russo said hastily. “You can both go now.”
Esther opened her mouth. “What? Bu –“
“Hey, want to go and get a hot chocolate at Copperfield’s? Since it’s raining and all.”
Mrs. Russo beamed as Esther glared at Dennis, fury making her eyes gleam and her lips narrow. “Yes. And I want a muffin, too. And maybe a sandwich. And maybe — “
“Sure, sure,” Dennis said placatingly. “A muffin and a sandwich too. Come on.”
Mrs. Russo smiled after the two of them as they left her classroom, thinking mistily about young love and poetry. It was another cold, wet afternoon, but at home, there was a bit of mulled cider and a fire waiting. She turned off the lights, and closed the door behind her.