I tell my students we’re going to write graph poems. They wander off into their own worlds during this silent writing time. Some are thinking. One twirls her hair, staring at the graph paper on her desk.
That kid has his head down, forehead to paper, and his arms hang down, his hands in his lap. That one yawns, stretching his neck, a grimace formed on his open mouth. His grey Vans are untied, and he is sketching two lines on the graph paper. He makes them ultra-dark, X and Y, as if the poem cares.
The skinny boy, short brown hair sticking up at his crown, finished his graph poem in about two minutes, letting the orange pilot pen clatter to the desk in case I hadn’t noticed that he was finished.
My welder is done, the words on his graph evenly split between positive and negative until the end where they slope upward, an arrow to the positive.
The cattle baroness is writing and re-writing the word intervals on the Y axis. Most of the poems are written in straight diagonal lines, but hers, the only sophomore in a class of freshmen, are curved and rolling.