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.















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












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.


Recycled Rocket

A pasta box,
a yogurt cup,
a bit of help
to tape them up,

a twisty tie,
a plastic spoon–
a rocket racing
to the moon!


Welcome, welcome one and all to today’s Poetry Friday celebration! It’s great to see you. I’m looking forward to savoring what everyone’s brought to share.

It’s now officially February, my least favorite month of the year. Winter is old and boring now. I want spring! We need something to do to pass the dark, cold hours until the crocuses bloom. It seems that every year around this time, we adopt some kind of art project. Last year we made a enough rainbow loom bracelets to cover our arms up to our shoulders. The year before that we made hundreds of pipe cleaner people and then houses and towns for our pipe cleaner people to live in. What project will we take up this year? Building with recycled materials is always fun. How are you whiling away the winter hours? Other than writing poetry, of course!

For more Poetry Friday fun, please leave your link below and visit all the Poetry Friday posts.



[inlinkz_linkup id=493383 mode=1]

photo 2-17photo 2-17










The Wisdom of a Teacup

What does a teacup know?

One fine dress is all you need.
Waiting gives you time to dream.
You are your best company.

What does a teacup know?

A steaming cup draws people in,
slows down time, and warms a chill.
Those well-loved bear a well-loved chip.


I’ve been enjoying this month’s celebration at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ Today’s Little Ditty. Each month Michelle invites a poet to give the rest of the poetry-writing community a challenge. In early January Joyce Sidman invited the writing of “deeper wisdom” poems, modeled after her beautiful example, “What Do the Trees Know?” Many writers have already accepted the challenge and written wonderfully about snow, wind, seeds, stars, even hens.

I thought I’d give it a try too, but I wanted to go in a different direction and explore something less grand and less natural. Perhaps because I spend the winter holding one, I went with teacup. I’m not that happy with the outcome (I’m ambivalent about the slant rhymes and the meter of the last line and the general level of abstraction.) but I did find myself saying to my daughter, “I know that because I’m a teacup,” which we both found absurdly hilarious. So, in honor of this poem, I’d like to propose a teacup toast to all those poems that don’t work out quite as well as we hoped they would.

For more Poetry Friday wisdom, visit Tara at A Teaching Life.

photo 1-22










Look what’s in my saucer! These belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Aren’t they wonderful?













Beach Magician

With nothing
up his sleeve
but a brainless foot,
this mundane clam
does the ultimate trick:
tipping his jelly bean shell on end,
he disappears
into the sand.


We saw these little clams, called coquina, on the beach in Marco Island, Florida over the holiday. Their disappearing trick looked both magical and ridiculous. See?

For more Poetry Friday, visit Irene Latham at Live Your Poem!