Like a soldier it waits
to be called to duty,
even lying down
at attention,
its spine straight and stiff,
its uniform, pressed
and ready for action,
numbers in order,
ticks marked
at precise intervals.
It knows that you
with your untrained hands
can’t do this alone.
You need help.
Find it, call it up
from its dark drawer.
Order it
to assist you.


Everything in/on my desk is suddenly alive!

Happy Poetry Friday! Laura Purdie Salas has the round-up and another in her series of 30 Poetry Tips for Teachers.


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015













A strange chameleon
sits on my desk
staring at me
with its giant eye,
its transparent skin
camouflaged against the clutter,
against any terrain.
It sits, waiting
for something to come along
and then the rigid reptile
does nothing.
Doesn’t blink.
Doesn’t budge.
I have to pull its sticky tongue
to get it to unfurl.
I snap the end
across its small sharp teeth
and fix it
to our prey.
It’s a strange chameleon
that sits and stares
and never eats
and doesn’t care.


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015













Permission Slip

If I forget
and leave it
in my desk
where it gets smooshed
by my spelling book
and pushed
to the back
in a crumpled ball
I can’t see
when someone tells me
to look
and I never remember
to take it home
will I still
have to go?


My little guy is on a school trip. I miss him. I think he would have done this, if he’d thought it would have worked. My oldest would have done this too, when he was younger. Field trips can be scary. You have no idea what it’s going to be like when you get there. I guess that’s one reason you have to go.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015


photo 3-7











Paper Clip

What creature died and left behind this silver spiral of bone?
What insect is this with lopsided wings that fold inside each other?
What climbing vine grows and twines in this limping oblong curve?
Who can resist the finger appeal of this twisted bit of wire?


I’m sure someone with more tech savvy could have done a better job with this, but I had to rely on my old friends scissors and glue. Scissors wants a poem too.












Box of Markers

I have a box of markers.
I use them all the time—
to draw a fleet of fire trucks,
a daffodil, a lime,

a mesmerizing tiger,
a purple plum, a tree,
but not another summer sky
above a glassy sea.

I have a box of markers,
but one of them is gone.
I wonder where it went to.
I wonder what it’s drawn.


I remember last year thinking I should have started my poem-a-day project a few days early so I could work ahead. This year, I’m thinking the exact same thing.

More tomorrow, I hope.

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015.














the pencils
and papers
and markers
and scissors
and notebooks
and workbooks
and rulers
and erasers
and glue sticks
and paperclips
lies a single

© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015












I glued my fingers.
I glued my nose.
I glued my desk.
I glued my clothes.

I glued my glasses.
I glued my hair.
I glued my pants
to the seat of my chair.

But even with
a bottle of glue,
I can’t fix a heart
that’s torn in two.


My husband just said you’re not going to write about school supplies all month are you? I guess at some point I might need to open the bottom drawer of my desk (duh, duh, duh, DUH!). Amy VanDerwater says she keeps jelly beans in her desk. Maybe I’ll write about those.

Happy Saturday,


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015











The Eraser

The eraser’s nature is deeply forgiving.
When you bellow and clobber your innocent desk,
the eraser feels neither surprised nor upset.

The eraser expects, even lives for, mistakes.
Hunkering down, it nuzzles them away,
like an old Labrador at the end of the day.

The eraser eagerly gives what it can—
turning to dust in the palm of your hand,
so that you may discover another chance.


I hope everyone is enjoying the surfeit of creativity around the kidlitosphere this month. It’s only Day 3 of National Poetry Month, and I’m already exhausted by all the writing and reading and exploring. If you’re still hungry, Jama always has more treats. Head over to her Alphabet Soup for the full menu of events and today’s special–peach danish. Amy is hosting this week’s stellar (forgive me) Poetry Friday party at The Poem Farm. She is playing a poetic name-that-tune game this month, so head on over to give it a try and contemplate her poem about the stars.

© all rights reserved, Elizabeth Steinglass, 2015












Lined Paper

Must I always
follow lines?
Need we really
make neat rows?
Do I have to
trap my thoughts
between these narrow bars?
Yes, I know they’re meant to help,
but my words want to
circle up,
       grow and spread,
                    tangle and web,
                            like a wild meadow of pale purple asters

         set to seed by the wind.


I hope you’re enjoying National Poetry Month. More tomorrow.


© all rights reserved, Elizabeth Steinglass, 2015











The Stapler

A snake that waits
with steely patience
unseen among the fallen leaves
but when a chosen few slip by
it snaps!
striking with a bang
piercing the skin
with silver fangs
that never let go.


It’s day one of National Poetry Month and I’ve started my month-long project of writing a poem a day about things you would find on/in a desk. My alternate working title is “tools for school.” My goal is to write every day, and I’ve paired up with poet extraordinaire and March Madness finalist Buffy Silverman in an effort to see that through. I’ve also signed up with all of you, though I’m still mulling over the pros and cons of sharing every day. In any case, Day 1 is done. See you tomorrow, or maybe Friday.

My next stop is Jama Rattigan’s round up of all the kidlitosphere poetry fun. I hope you’ll visit her too.


© Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved, 2015.