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But First...

by Kathy Kenney-Marshall


I had a bit of trouble
With my teacher yesterday.
She said I had to get to work-
There wasn't time to play.
But first...
I had to tie my shoes.
I had to blow my nose.
And then I had to clean the lint
That tickled 'tween my toes.
I had to find my pencil,
Had to sharpen up its tip.
I had to zipper up my pants,
Then Vaseline my lip.
And then, of course, 'cuz it was cold
I put my sweater on,
Then found a new eraser 'cuz
My old one was all gone.
And then I found a buggy bite
I really had to itch.
And scratching made me notice
That my sweater pulled a stitch.
And so I pulled a little thread.
I made a little hole
And noticed that my elbow had
A tiny brownish mole.
It looked just like a ladybug,
And so I drew a nose.
I added spots and little legs
And teeny buggy toes.
Then fin'ly with those things all done
I settled down to work.
But all my friends had finished,
And my teacher went berserk.
And, really, I was so confused.
I wasn't having fun.
These things were quite important.
They were begging to be done!
So now it's time for science.
We're on page ninety-four.
But first...
There are some markers I must pick up from the floor…

Text © Kathy Kenney-Marshall, reprinted from If Kids Ruled the School published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Stephen Carpenter. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.

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If Kids Ruled the School