I remember when the new erasers came
long and sleek and gray, suspiciously like
antler velvet, as though behind the blackboard
might be heaped the heads of desecrated deer.
The teachers knew you could not let a child,
even once, even as a treat, even alone,
clap those long erasers each to each:
so white and full an ectoplasmic cloud appeared,
a mother ghost of chalksmoke: they would
never ever stop, clap after clap, summoning
mother after mother. But once, one afternoon,
I don't remember or I never knew why,
the glory came to me: and instead of recess
I got to stand alone, calling ghost after ghost
to life in the slantwise sun, until my throat caught
and my hands were powdered like a baker's.