My Darkness Calls


Barking dog
Woke at four

Tried to sleep,
There was no more

To the kitchen I did sneak
Orange muffins I did make

Excitement of smell, so orangey, so good
Limit to one--okay, two--I should

Yet sleep dost call, I hear it nigh
Get ready for school, goodbye, goodbye

My darkness calls
and in it, dreams

They'll wait for me,
or so it seems.



’Twas the night before school and all through the house,
Not a child was Minecrafting or using a mouse.
The cell phones were plugged into chargers with care,
In hopes that new updates soon would appear.

The little ones tossed and they turned in their beds,
While visions of textbooks rattled their heads.
And Daddy with his iPad and I with my cell,
Caused the room to illume in a cool fluorescent spell.

When down through the hall, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to check on the matter.
Away to the staircase I flew like a light,
Feet skipping some stairs and down the first flight.

The glow from a sitcom beamed from the set,
Lending mass and shape to a group who now fret.
When, what did I see—I’m a tired mom grouch,
But my dog and my children, draped on the couch.

With agility of youth, so lively and quick,
They dispersed like birds, not one could I nick.
More rapid than cheetahs, not one of them lame,
I clapped and I shouted and called them by name.

“Now, Brooke! Now, Matt! Now Zach, and you, Casey!
Come on! Upstairs! Right now! Make it hasty!
To the top of the stairs! Hop in your beds!
Or I’ll give you a punishment each of you dreads!

As dry leaves crumple when stomped by a foot,
Crushed into pieces and all is kaput,
So my children were sorry, sorry to be caught.
Sorry that school was, and summer was not.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard high heel clicks,
The clipping and clopping of Old Mrs. Glicks,
My fifth grade teacher, a woman quite stern,
No extra credit, all points you must earn.

She was dressed all in black, from permed hair to gnarled toe,
Even her girdle made the unsightly not show.
A bundle of papers she crooked in her arm,
Red marks and Xs, I saw my name in alarm.

Her eyes how they pierced! Her lines were so deep!
Her cheeks were like stone; her nose was a beak!
Her tight wrinkled lips were pursed in reproof,
But the whisker on her chin stood tall and aloof.

The cap of a pen she held tight in her teeth,
Ready to grade and make children weep.
She had a thin face and veined, ropey hands,
That looked like two claws, getting ready to land.

She was skinny and knotty, a right spiteful marm,
And I shuddered when I saw her and said, “No, no—oh darn!”
A slit of her eye and a twist of her head,
Jolted my heart and turned me to lead.

She spoke not a word but went straight to her work,
Marking up papers and going berserk,
And sliding her pen on top of her ear,
And giving a nod, she then disappeared!

My body deflated, to my kids I did go,
To give them a cuddle, and tell them I know:
School can be scary and some teachers mean,
But when you come home, I’ll give you ice cream!

From Grace regarding Violet Raines

I found a wonderful note from a reader today:

My name is Gracie, and I'm 9. I just read your book Violet Raines
Almost Got Struck By Lightning and I loved it. I love your way with
words! It seemed so real and I was sad when I finished it. I think you
should make a sequel to it or make another book starring Violet. I
can't stop thinking about the book it was so good. When I grow up, I
want to be an author, too, so please tell me how you write so well.
Please write me back, you're an awesome author!!!

Thank you, Gracie! My reply has been sent!