On my way to the desk
I tripped on the rug.
When I looked to see why
I found my lost bug!

I tucked the blue cockroach
In my box of cool rocks,
And that’s where I found
My best holey socks.

Lying there, crumpled
They looked like a cat.
Except without ears.
I had to fix that.

I grabbed an old t-shirt
I started to cut.
I noticed the shirt had
A hole in the gut.

I got a red marker.
I started to sing.
I hit the right note
To make my walls ring.

That’s when my mom
Knocked on the door.
I put on the shirt.
I dropped to the floor.

“Where is your homework?”
She asked without blinking.
To my desk I waved weakly.  
My poor heart was sinking.

“Then why are you there?”
She sounded unsure.
I answered her truly:
“I took a detour.”

© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

I wrote this in response to David L. Harrison’s April word-of-the-month challenge http://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/adult-word-of-the-month-poem/. Unfortunately, I never got to post it there because I didn’t finish until May. I took a detour.

8 replies
  1. Katya
    Katya says:

    You have just described homework time at our house EVERY afternoon to a T. Oh my.
    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

  2. Tara
    Tara says:

    This is going up on my blackboard, right next t o the homework chart. However, I need a copy for myself…I like detours, too.

  3. Linda at teacherdance
    Linda at teacherdance says:

    I love the mother’s query “Then why are you there?” This has to go to all the teachers I work with. I sometimes received calls from parents saying I gave too much homework, & often enough I asked the student to look closely at exactly what he or she was doing during the hours spent “doing” homework. They had been taking quite a few detours, as I find I do, too (but I rarely told them that!) Thanks, Liz!

  4. Liz Steinglass
    Liz Steinglass says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I do find it hard sometimes to scold when I can see how creative and necessary the detours can be.

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