One of my favorite prompting sites, dverse poets, put Brian Miller in charge (look out! Backs to the wall… wink). He asked us to write a history poem, and it reminded me of that question we always ask one another: “Where were you when…?” Excellent prompt, and I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s work at dverse. This is also posted at my favorite time machine, Poets United. Peace, Amy


I knew a lot by the second grade
The alphabet, counting to one hundred and beyond
How to write my name in cursive, and quite perfectly
What not to flush down the toilet
(all my broccoli smuggled in via dinner napkin)

How kittens are born, because I watched
Even how to make a dry martini
(kids learn a lot from alcoholic parents)
How to spit water between my front teeth and
how to get real distance spitting watermelon seeds

One thing I didn’t know
and never expected to
was something the whole class
learned at the same time

The grownups were outside our classroom
mumbling something about
President Kennedy
A grownup was sobbing in the hall
and Mrs. Darrow almost fainted

Until second grade
I didn’t know teachers were allowed to cry

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image courtesy of