Mrs. Haukoo

Our waiflike 5th grade art teacher
tutors us in sustained
tool-to-medium contact
during the expression
of one’s inner artiste.
She implores us to sketch lines and circles,
patterns and squiggles
hearts, homes, moons and dreams
in one constant, glorious, sweeping motion.

FILL the empty spaces, fill it ALL.
Turn the page over and start again.
Draw. Draw!
There, there and THERE.
And, class
— this is key, she tells us — never lift your pencils.
You and your art must swirl about in a continuous FLOW!

Her fists pierce the air,
arms swoop and flap
like a great winged heron in flight.
Mrs. Haukoo punctuates every word,
she gesticulates for emphasis —
her soul positively on fire —
while we sit there
in awe of this strange woman,
her wild gestures reminiscent
of African tribal ceremonies
we’d seen in grainy B&W films
in the AV room when teachers
were absent, home sick with the flu.

Lackluster skills fail to
mirror creative intent
but soon the paper erupts with
scribbles and flares of my own
native designs.

But when I flip the page over
I struggle as
pencil tip traverses
the slender slice of paper’s edge.

Gaining purchase: impossible.
I seek guidance, frustrated with my ineptitude.

Teacher’s eyes
grow wide
behind her oversized
cat-eye frames.

Silly goose, she teases.
I didn’t mean for you to take it literally.

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