On rainy days the classroom
smells like mud from the swamp
the school is built upon. We stand
in an alphabetical line for lunch,
the mud from our shoes gradually
shading the floor with a grayish
patina. We walk/march in lined
unison to the cafeteria four our feast
of mystery meat in gravy, boiled
spinach with a slice of boiled egg,
beets and other delicacies to affront
the childish palate. I wasn’t Catholic
but I loved Fridays because it was
always fish on Fridays. At recess
we have Polar Bars or Fudgcicles or
Dreamcicles, to wash away
the taste of beets, the smell of mud.
Lunch is a quarter, ice cream
a nickel and much the better
value for the money.
This poem is submitted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. To see more poems, please visited the site. Links will be live at 2 p.m. Central time.
This is also one on a series of poems about growing up in the South, suggested by my friend Nancy Rosback. We didn’t have boiled spinach and beets every day in our school cafeteria, but those are the foods that have lingered in memory. (Our cafeteria workers also never looked as cheerful as those in the photograph.)
Photograph courtesy Grand Island Pictures from the Past.