don’t ask

september brings word problems
to a boy who counts on fingers
& I make up some
just to hear him laugh:

if we have 12 beans
and 3 carrots
are they equal to
an ear of corn

he says
carrots are yucky
& could never add up to corn
but carrots can be numbered up
on his fingers faster
because he won’t eat them
(& he has not gotten to subtraction yet
in those
word problems)

so now he knows
when there are groups of chickens
in fives
he can add them
to three squirrels

& I say
you can count pictures
in your mind
of anything you want
when just the numeral
is there

even candy?

yes, even candy

& no danger of subtraction
when the M&Ms
are imaginary

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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24 Responses to don’t ask

  1. He could count as many of my broad beans as he likes…. As a child I always felt they used to multiply on my plate!

  2. Glad that I found your site through Mimi’s site. I look forward to reading more of your poetry.

  3. unfetteredbs says:

    I can hear the giggles now.. very sweet susan

  4. Mama Zen says:

    This is so sweet!

  5. Bruce Ruston says:

    very sweet and i am smiling 🙂

  6. nelle says:

    It’s been so many years now since I witnessed it. Such a cute look at the early learning process.

  7. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I like that last stanza. Maybe M&M’s should be reserved for addition and multiplication problems and carrots for subtraction and division. 🙂

  8. Trent Lewin says:

    This one’s gold, so cute.

  9. Rhonda says:

    Love this susan! I can picture him now, and hear him laugh, and saying yuck to the carrots. perfect.

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