All huddled together,
a small group makes a way to the corner.
A frozen Monday,
with icicles, and snow, and chapped lips, and stuck zippers.
A mother, too patient
Two carry backpacks, and the other a Cinderella lunchbox.
One mitten clings to mother's skirt.
The youngest is left behind.
She's too young to go to school
or ride the big, yellow bus.
But instead goes home to nap, play, watch "Sesame Street."
* * * * *
I see them leave
learn to be big kids.
They have bags, and books, and pencils.
I only have crayons.
My breath steams, Mommy shivers.
Her tights have a small hole.
Today I might build a snowman
and maybe a snowgirl.
I have a lunchbox,
and I carry it, but there's no lunch in it.
Mommy says next year.
by M. N., Middlebury, VT
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.