Poetry / Poets

AT COMO PARK ELEMENTARY by John Lee Clark

At Como Park Elementary the truth was good enough for me

But some of the others needed more in their hands

Take Teng Lee he told us that if we messed with him his pit bulls would rip
us all into pieces

They had spiked collars too

I asked him how many pit bulls he had

He scowled and said 99

We laughed

Then I would tell of how when the sun was going down behind the hill behind
our house my father put sheets of fabric softener in his belt loops to keep
the mosquitoes away as he trimmed the hedges around our house

Things like that and they were hooked

The best I saved for last

My wrestling stories

They would shake their heads whew and Lisa Jewell’s eyes would sparkle

Our teacher got sick of my stories and at the parent meeting she told my
parents that I was telling tall tales all the time

My mother asked like what

The teacher said oh wrestling John lie lie story wrestling nonsense

My mother frowned and said but true John himself wrestle skill win many
there EP wrestling club

The teacher’s mouth fell open really

That was the first time my mother came home from a meeting smiling instead
of crying because of my bad grades

My first summer school at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf
everything was different

There were deaf teachers and I wasn’t the only one who came from a deaf
family

They still liked my stories and I got to be with Crystal Johnson

But there was something missing in her eyes

One afternoon we were sharing a milkshake and I told her that two men had
approached me and they said they would hurt her but I scowled and said my
pit bulls would rip them into pieces and they were scared and they ran away

I smiled but saw something in her eyes I had never seen before

I quickly added that one of the men was tall and the other was short and

But she was gone

Crystal’s friend Kari with the sad brown eyes that I liked too found me and
handed me a note

It said Dear John why you lie not nice I am NOT with you Crystal

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2 thoughts on “AT COMO PARK ELEMENTARY by John Lee Clark

  1. John Lee Clark’s poetry has appeared in many publications, including The Hollins Critic, Pif, Poetry, and The Seneca Review. His chapbook of poems is Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009). He is married to the cartoonist Adrean Clark, and they live in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota with their three sons.

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