4th Grade

4th Grade (prose/slam)

In fourth grade, I would stare out the window for hours, watching phantoms playing tag on the dark macadam. I would peer into another realm where angels blessed each flake of snow that drifted down, blowing kisses. Young spirits would waltz up and down the aisles between our schoolroom desks, then when they reached the front of the room, they’d boyantly pretend to be my teacher, mocking her stern disposition, before the smudged and dismal blackboard.

Then there would be a crash. My beautiful world would slowly shatter with a hard roar.

“Pay attention.” The class would burst into fits of laughter, as my eyes would slowly wonder to Mrs. Henrick’s face, taking in the deep creases between her slanted eyebrows and her dark glinting eyes. “I called you six times,” she would say in her dark, slow, voice that could carry four corridors down to the principal’s office. Another wave of laughter would surge through the class, breaking on the desk at the front of the room and foaming out under the door and into the hallway.

“What is the capital of Mississippi?” It was a brilliant follow up. I would shrug and smile, still further away than she would like. “Does that mean you don’t know or don’t care?” Another shrug. “I’ve had enough. Pick up your desk and take it into the hall.”

Out in the hall, I would be free. The mottled beiges of the linoleum would sprout dancing fairies, tripping and spinning as danced across the floor. I could see them hiding behind the bits of mud and grass that other, more athletic, children had tracked in. Giggling, they would chase each other around the dappled patterns, ocassionally combusting into tinkling laughter.

Mr. Rand would eventually interrupt, pushing his huge humming space ship down the hall. It created violent windstorms that would send my friends running under the doors and  into the class rooms, as their shelter was furiously sucked into the craft.

I saw the aliens inside through the cracks in the vacuum, smiling and waving, or placidly knitting sweaters out of multi-colored dust bunnies.

They would signal to me that I should not worry. They were friendly and on a journey to find the Earth’s most perfect pebble. They thought it might benefit our worlds by inspiring their artists to new levels of creativity and brilliance. Their art, combined with our physical elements, would soon be propelling both our species to new levels of transcendence and forming a permanent bond of friendship between us.

Mr. Rand would deliver them, once again, to their home planet by taking them through the large locked door labeled ‚custodian‘. Later he would return carrying his own sea with fish and eels playing within the tan plastic walls. I would avert my eyes. Next, I knew, he would be clearing the walkway of monsters by swishing medusa’s head left and right as he sauntered haltingly toward the exit doors at the end of the passage.

Too soon, Mrs. Henrick would poke her head out of the door. “Bring your desk back in. I hope you learned your lesson.”