A common theme amongst the poems are that they are each based off of memories of mine. Interestingly enough, they’re also in chronological order. I didn’t intend this--but they are. The first poem, “YMCA” delves into experiences I had at the first elementary school I went to. After 4:00 p.m. (an hour past dismissal), I was usually dumped in the nurse’s office until staff could get ahold of my parents. “Pomegranate” is itself a collection of memories I experienced during my elementary school years. In that poem, I wanted to highlight that although poverty made my childhood unorthodox, I exercised the same ability as any other child to see so much good in the world. The last poem, “Jogging in the Nighttime” expresses the peculiar way I perceive trees. Recently, I’ve begun to see them as soldiers so towering, intimidating, and steadfast. In this poem, I delved a little bit into what I thought the history of these trees were.
Click here for "Pomegranate" Click here for "Jogging in the Night" "YMCA" At the YMCA, with orange pulp and pieces sticking to her cheeks, Jesse asks me if I ever went to after school care. I lean back in my chair, throw her a humoring smile--and I remember. Staring at the grey and white ceiling tiles, smile fleeing my face, I remember now: I was never in after care, but in the nurse's office where the tall door trim divided myself and the adults who, like shadows on city sidewalks, circled and hovered. Who then pointed and whispered at me, the child who no one, at half past five in the afternoon, knew what to do with. I was never in after care, but I was always the last student to leave. To leave a school only blocks from my house. I was a child sitting in a “lost” box.
In that nurse’s office, in cabinets so high up, I needed to climb to reach, so high up, the gray counter bit my knees, so high up, I grunted, when finally, I reached and lifted the pale teacup set.
The bottom of the pink and yellow cups were always dirty. Debris and smudges smeared the walls of those tiny gay plastic distractions. I stuffed it with paper wads-- my imagination soaked, makeshift sponge. Then, I stuffed my fist inside. I turned it. Washed it the way my mother washed her things.
My fist pressed into that childish cheap cup-- into the center of the Great Clock’s back: Winding the tiny and thick gears, I spun and spun and spun the clinic out of sync with the office. I turned it and turned it the way my mom would if she had the chance; hoping it’d gift her a life that was different.
But I would never tell Jesse stories like that. Instead, I just smile and say, "Yes.”
#Selma50: A Memoir
By Kayla Davis, Senior
This piece started off as a wrong assignment for Ms. Keller's Elie Wiesel essay. It was a product of my then-recent visit to Selma, Alabama for the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement's Bloody Sunday. In this piece, I blended my experience in Selma with the current state of race relations in the United States.I was certain that I'd screwed up when the original word count spanned 17 pages, but I submitted it, anyways. Ms. Keller saw something in this piece that I didn't initially. She encouraged me to submit to Scholastics, and it was her unwavering encouragement that played a vital role in my piece winning a Gold Key and an American Voices Award. Needless to say, it's the best mistake I've made thus far.
Hence, visiting Selma for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday was monumental for us both. I felt blacker than normal, and, no, there’s not another adjective that I can think of to express my random yet appropriate spurt of African American dignity. Prior to Selma, I didn’t yearn to be classified as a black person. Our history in America is filled with disgrace and reluctance. I liked to dismiss that part of my heritage in public, focusing on the rumor that one of my great grandparents was Native American descent, which willfully dilutes the color of my skin through my diction choices. The people that took part in the marches of 1965 did not risk their lives and endure harsh treatment so that I could be embarrassed of my race. I am brown. I am brown. I AM BROWN.