Smile

I should have smiled less
when the playground monitor pulled me
away. My grin should not have

grown as I was dragged through the halls,
ahead of that boy. That boy who assumed
I wouldn’t challenge him. Funny,

he seemed so sure

that I’d think his insult was flattery
or I’d that do any crying quietly
curled up in a stall.

Funny, his face

filled with more shock than pain
at the sight of my fists underlining my, “no”.
But he got the point. Eventually,

we were both sat down in front of the principal.
And when he asked who started it,
my smile was more damning
than his, “It's all her fault!”.

But I don’t regret an inch
of my smile, showing all my teeth
precisely where they should be.

And it doesn’t matter

how much my father might scold, 
how my mother will fret,
or if I have detention all year.

There’ll be no shame
in these black and blue eyes
next time I look in the mirror.

And my smile will be just as big too.



Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings Prompt at Poets and Story Tellers United, Painted Tales. I chose "The Shiner" by Norman Rockwell.

35 comments:

  1. What a wonderful image! I only knew Rockwell for his famous serious-faced farming couple; you've completely altered my understanding of him.

    And your poem utterly embodies and gives voice to this delighted, triumphant imp of a girl – giving her a modern context, one might think, but in fact that male behaviour is very old.

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    1. I think the farming couple you refer to is "American Gothic", painted by Grant Wood. Rockwell is known for his glimpses of Americana.

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    2. Oh, I was indeed thinking of 'American Gothic'. For some reason I always thought that was Rockwell. I'll have to educate myself further about both him and Grant Wood.

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    3. I approve of anything that lets us appreciate more art and artists :D

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  2. Love your rendition into words of Rockwell's painting!

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  3. Wonderfully told. She's holding her own just fine, I do wish she'd told. Your picture has probably adorned many a wall during its appointed month.
    ..

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    1. Here's to the ones that can and do hold their own.

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  4. Rommy, this is just wonderful. I can feel (and understand) her feelings so clearly. There is defiance and good old pride in this one. When the world (or a bully) goes for our throat, few things feel as satisfying as showing said bully that they can't break us. And the smile your poem describes shows that so well.

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    1. I love the proud expression on the girl's face in the painting and was so stoked to try to convey that pride and power in my words.

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  5. I always loved Rockwell's snippets of Americana, and I LOVE the voice you've given this scamp sitting outside the principal's office! Good for her!

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    1. I'm in a Facebook group that shares classic illustrations and Rockwell often comes up. LOL, it's a pleasant enough group if you only look at the picture and don't bother with the comments.

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  6. Norman Rockwell would have loved your poem!! I certainly do.

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  7. Luv this painting. The peeping parents speaks volumes. And as for your poem, he surely got the point
    Happy Wednesday

    Muchđź’›love

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  8. Fantastic! I love this Rommy! Big Hugs!

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  9. Yes, and if you really did get a couple of shiners, I'm betting you would act exactly like your poem. Get'em girl!

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    1. They'd be badges of honor in my book, yes

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  10. I have always loved that painting by Norman Rockwell's...and it is always good to have a girl stand up to boys to show them they aren't always going to win.

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    1. It's a really delightful painting, isn't it?

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  11. Lyrical storytelling indeed! Love the fire in the girl, visible in the picture as well as in your words.

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  12. Happy Sunday Rommy

    Muchđź’›love

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  13. Awesome narrative for this painting prompt!
    and great song choice too. :)

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