On Saving the World
by Savannah McLeod

  1. Ms. Katherine, (Six Grade English)
  1. You told us to write a poem about what we’d do to save
  2. the world.
  3. I thought I’d tell you about my mom’s freckles, which fall
  4. onto the floor each and every night.
  1. They clump down in heaps of browns and reds,
  2. assorted spices and peppers
  3. that she never wanted to sprinkle
  4. upon me.
  5. And while she brushes out the loose, thickening hairs
  6. she tells me that she’s oh so sorry
  7. about Nicholas,
  8. who tells other bus-kids that my mom isn’t really sick.
  1. “If she vomits blood she’s a vampire,
  2. must just have as a knack for taking people’s money.”
  1. The other kids stare
  2. and then laugh along
  3. as if their moms won’t ever die,
  4. and I can’t quite understand why this is.
  5. Or why Nicholas always has bruises
  6. on his left elbow, beneath his chin,
  7. purples swallowing up his skin like some sort of tumor
  8. or oozing acid,
  9. and I can’t help but wonder if we all have one of those
  10. swelling from our oily bodies.
  1. It is wrong that I can’t even save her,
  2. and that during the lifespan of this poem
  3. I’ve longed to be
  4. those kids
  5. on the bus
  6. putting the earbud wires right below their nostrils
  7. and shouting “Hey Janice! Who am I?”
  1. Perhaps these kids,
  2. hiccupping from stop to stop,
  3. are the only ones who believe
  4. they can still
  5. save the world.
Packingtown Review – Vol.9, Fall 2017

Savannah McLeod is studying creative writing at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.

  1. Maureen Passmore