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Education (excerpt from “Look at This Blue”)

By Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Your arm was twisted, bone exposed

face past point of wet                         stained,
                                                                fledgling fell there

“He wouldn’t stop crying, so he’s been sitting here since lunch.”

That was the final day you were left-prominent
                         all bland shaming, “Big boys don’t use their left hand”
“The class scissors are made for right-hands”
             suddenly would satisfy same teacher who marched you
here and complained about the noise
             after the class favorite broke your arm on monkey bars.

Like me, when the boy sucker round-housed me coming around hall corner.
            Upper force, lifted me off, hard land on knee moved the cap
                        blood everywhere from fully laid out nose
first teacher on the scene, invokes surname, “clean up this mess.”

Schools were made to break us.





Listen as Allison Adelle Hedge Coke reads "Education."

Added: Tuesday, July 19, 2022  /  Used with permission. Excerpted from Look at This Blue (Coffee House Press, 2022).
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is a 2021 Legacy Artist Fellow through the California Arts Council and a George Garrett Award recipient. She is a King*Chavez*Parks Award and an American Book Award-winning poet whose books include The Year of the Rat, Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Blood Run, Burn, Streaming, Look at This Blue: an assemblage poem (book length, 2022), as well as a memoir, Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer (2014, paperback). She is the editor of ten anthologies and directs Writers Week and Along the Chaparral where she teaches creative writing and narrative medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Hedge Coke came of age working fields, factories, and waters and is currently at work on a film, Red Dust: resiliency in the dirty thirties, and on a FLAD fellowship with DISQUIET. She has been granted a Dean Mellon's Professorship for 2022-2023 at UCR.

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