IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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THE GEOGRAPHY OF CHILDREN

Jane Flanders

(I remember having seen somewhere a geography text which began thus: "What is the world? It is a cardboard globe." Such precisely is the geography of children.) --Jean-Jacques Rousseau Geography is the room at the top of the stairs where Mr. Haugh reigns, waving a yardstick-- first stop on the rise to seventh grade. He sizes us up with bulging eyes, rattles his keychain. Already he knows, and so do we, who'll make trouble, which girls he'll tease, which boy will taste his simmering rage. Flexing his gauge, he begins the long slog over a cardboard sea, holding up for us strange creatures who eat dogs or scar themselves or stalk their prey with poisoned darts. Meanwhile, Carl Rudy perfects the art of rolling his eyes back in his head like Caesar. Carolyn Adams and Susie Breidenthal agree they won't walk to school with me anymore. "This is the Amazon," says Mr. Haugh. We chew paper, toy with the rubber bands on our new braces till they pop or fly off like tropical bees. He crosses the equator and stalks north along the seventy-eighth meridian. We study each other's necks and knees, the clock, the cracks, the scratches on our desks which truly, truly show us the way.

 
 
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