Featured Poet: Scott Hutchison, Gilford
I’ve had the privilege to teach English and Creative Writing at Gilford High School for the last twenty-three years, and I get to work with young editors and the school’s national award-winning literary magazine. My book of poems, Reining In, was published by Black Bird Press in 2003. I helped lead the New Hampshire Young Writers’ Conference for thirteen years, and have served on the rotating staff of the New England Young Writers’ Conference. Currently, I write both poetry and fiction.
Teaching is complex—we know what occurs in our classrooms, but the insights we get into our students’ lives away from school are often scant. We do the best we can, and we try to make our classes a place of both learning and refuge. Though some of this poem is fictionalized, not all of it is. This was sparked by a true story.
At day’s end most of the other kindergartners
took their cups of sweet butter
and raced to mommies’ vans
to show off what they’d made.
A kindly crinkle-eyed farmer with a beard
and a churn had visited with us, explaining
grass and feed, Guernsey cow and milk,
elbow grease and a steady beat,
separation and the blessing of butter.
We all took turns making the world sweeter.
We plastic-spooned our creation out and onto
Mrs. Whitten’s homemade bread
warm from a cafeteria oven, giggling
with bright liquid gold dribbling
down our chins. I loved Special Day,
never wanted it to end. The pick-up mommies
cruised in, cooed and clapped in wonderment
at the delights before them, happy that
the time apart was over and everyone
could return home to sugar and salt,
to cuddle and tuck. I stayed behind
and talked with the bearded man until
he claimed he had to go, switched to
Mrs. Whitten who checked the clock
and called Guidance for help
getting me on the short bus, a counselor
actually ordered to ride with me as I
kicked her shins; she took it
all the way to my stop before
prying my fingers from the seat’s metal framing
by greasing them with butter and sliding
me down the steps and out
the doors to stand before my own dark
churning house, my cup empty
and crushed on the ground.
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