Slice of Life: Things We Prize


My husband and I are gearing up for a big renovation project: new kitchen, new living room, new patio. It’s all very exciting, but a little daunting as well. I don’t think I’ve crossed the line to hoarder yet, but I am not good at throwing stuff away. But with the upcoming construction, I’ve been trying to get organized and get rid of some clutter. While I was going through a box over the weekend, I found some pictures from sixth grade. They stirred up quite a few memories and inspired this poem.

“Things We Prize”

Prizes weren’t meant for me.
Other kids won prizes.
Kids who could run fast
or spell “mountain”
or knew that 7 x 8 was 56.
No, prizes weren’t meant for me.

Until one day I decided
I was tired
of not winning a prize.

At the edge of the playground,
that sea of asphalt,
scene of so many embarrassments,
Mr. Fletcher raked the dirt smooth,
ready for us to jump,
fling ourselves as far as we could,
and make our mark.

When it was my turn,
No one expected much.

I stood tall,
feet planted,
courage growing.
Bent my knees,
Pushed off.


Propelled myself
farther than any kid
in sixth grade,
farther than any kid
in the whole school.

The prize was mine.

© Catherine Flynn, 2017

Thank you to StaceyDanaBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, Melanie, and Lisa for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

6 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Things We Prize

  1. I loved that poem, Catherine, and would love to share it with my sixth graders – may I? Good luck with all the construction – daunting, but always worth it in the end.


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