Blue Calendar Days

Posted on 13 February 2010

The blue calendar days were removed one by one to run away and hide in full
light, in front of the desk with the hinged yellow top where George Herrick
buried his head inside like a pad of butter in a baked potato. He looked for
what was useful there: a math workbook ripped in half, a spelling list with
the words “cost” and “limit,” beds of kleenex for blue-haired trolls, pink
erasers with “yes” and “no” written on opposite sides–prepared to reveal
the future if flipped like a coin. But no personal calendar. That belonged
to us all like we all owned the sound of the letter “z.”

The alphabet encouraged animals to advertise its sounds. Tiger
was celebrity for “t,” elephant for “e,” and the friendly zebra looking calm
and rested so far removed from the World Book where a leopard dragged it
down from behind, terror drawn up through the eyes the way the heliotropic
bean seed danced up through the soil even when planted upside down. We
watched it point to the sky as it sat on the ledge above our heads full of
words. We uttered words that started to cut the skin of the days, the blue
calendar days, gone missing, used up like tissue that covers a gift in a
bag.

The desks were moved in a circle, a battalion of covered wagons,
each one full of task instructions and toys. We pledged allegiance to the
dime store flag stapled to a maple dowel, then lifted the yellow top to
behold what the desk cradled, what made us all owners of separate property.
So it was no wonder when George Herrick raised his little white penis and
pissed in his as formal protest. The rest of us were raising our hands to
answer the important questions: how Squanto helped the Pilgrims, when the
Liberty Bell last rang, where pennies and nickels were minted, how to
measure the days that belonged to no one but were always the same color,
blue.


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