Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
At the Parent-Teacher Meeting

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I hunch and wait. Small chair, small desk.
A loud clock ticks in the afterschool hush.
Lunch monies due Monday! the chalkboard
squeals. The walls echo her sturdy shoes.

Putting pen to paper, I note what the teacher
deems most important: precision.
I fidget at a slower pace might do him good,
and pull the frayed seams on my skirt.

I think: What has happened to my voice?
but nod and take my leave, my face
dyslexic. I've betrayed him with my reticence
to boast his extra-curricular abilities–

how he identifies each fungus, fruit, or flower,
plays the piano by ear, draws near-perfect suits
of armor, and knows how to coax
a slow worm into his calm, unshaking hand.


Carolyn Harris Zukowski is an American poet living in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. Ten years ago, Literary Mama was one of the first places to accept her poetry. Since then, she’s earned an MA and MFA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). She owns award-winning Krumlov House & Write Away. When she’s not doing laundry, walking the dog, or welcoming guests to her hostel, she’s editing her manuscript and redecorating her now empty nest.


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A wonderful poem defining a teacher's expectations of a student as just "precision," as though he were a robot; while the Mom portrays her ability to understand her child's creativity and special skills continually lost in the learning process at school.
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