The Fifth Graders' Rebellion, 1963
by Peggy Turnbull
When we saw Mr. G. play foursquare with the boys,
we stopped skipping rope, left blue-haired trolls
in our pockets, joined the game. Slapping balls
into corners, we began to best the boys.
One day Tracy traded her limp skirt for a pair of slacks.
At home for lunch, I modeled her. One by one, saying
nothing among ourselves, girls swapped gingham dresses
for corduroy pants. Told our puzzled mothers no skirt today.
We awoke sizzling. We galloped to school.
Two and a half days passed before Mr. G.
announced that girls must always dress like ladies.
The game at recess changed to boys chase girls.
Boys shoved us hard, made our skirts flip up.
Girls once glowed like beacons in the fog.
Now we watched our new-found zeal flicker,
low on fuel. We had to bank our fires.
* * * * *
Peggy Turnbull returned to her birthplace in the upper Midwest after living in West Virginia for over 25 years. She began writing poetry after retiring from her work as a university librarian. Her first chapbook, The Joy of Their Holiness, is forthcoming from Kelsay Publishing. Her micro chapbook, Rocking Chair Abstract, is available from the Origami Poems Project.