Drawing A Short Straw

For the past two days I’ve been working with special-needs students. This reminded me of a poem I wrote about them for my book Some Poems About Life.

 

Drawing A Short Straw

Sam sits at his school desk on a typical winter day.
He’s working at his lesson,
the first lesson of today,
as hard as he can,
with all the talent he can muster.

Today’s first lesson is current events:
what is the day,
what is the month,
what is the year?
What is the season,
what is the weather like outside,
what did he wear to school?
What is in the newspaper:
is Sports about basketball,
or football,
or baseball?

Today’s first lesson is the same as yesterday’s,
and the day before,
and the day before that.

Sam is sixteen years old.
Yet he doesn’t mind today’s first lesson.
Or that it has been the same first lesson all year.
Sam just keeps working,
as hard as he can,
with all the talent he can muster.

In life’s lottery, Sam drew a short straw.
It happens.
It happens to many students like Sam.
Yet Sam does the most with what he has,
just like we all should,
even though Sam drew a short straw.

Today’s second lesson will be matching.
Sam will match simple shapes,
putting like with like.
The same as yesterday,
and the day before,
and the day before that.
And Sam just keeps working,
as hard as he can,
with all the talent he can muster.

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