Mr. Iverson was our music teacher at Washington Elementary. In first grade, all the 6 year olds were asked to write a poem. For a song, he told us, was actually just a poem set to music. We were to all write a poem, and then he would pick the best one, write it on the chalkboard, put it to music and we would all sing it together. Such magic. My chubby little fingers wrote with such hope. I turned in the paper. The next day, we all marched into the music room, single file, and there it was – perfectly written in white chalk – my poem –
Houses, houses, houses red.
In it is a pretty bed.
Houses, houses, houses green.
In it is a pretty scene.
I was so happy. I didn’t have the words for it then, but I felt like I belonged. I was a part of this world. These words were my tools and I would survive. They would hold me forever. I was happy. He played the music on the piano and soon we were all singing. My words. I was a poem set to music. And I was saved.