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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Taylor Before and After

Jennie Englund




Prompt: On my mind is …


Prompt: How do you see Oahu fifty years from now?

I thought Miss Wilson was talking about my eyebrow

when she asked me today

if I’m okay.

I rubbed my finger across it,

rough now where it was once smooth.


Prompt: “… A movie, a phone conversation, a sunset—tears are words waiting to be written.” (Paulo Coelho)



“Good work,” Miss Wilson said as she bent over my notebook. “You got the prompt down again today.”

Tears are words

Waiting to be written.

“Forget about the prompt if you can’t think of anything,” Miss Wilson added. “Just write words.”

I’ll write. I’ll get it together. I don’t want to get in trouble. That would make everything worse. If Miss Wilson calls Dad and tells him I’m not using class time wisely, the Detention Convention will be just the beginning.

Isabelle came back today. Everything’s normal again for her. It’s all behind her now.

That will never happen for me.

Use time wisely.

Write words.



Prompt: What was your first impression of Our Lady of Redemption?



Just write words.

Prompt. Erasers. Posters. Wall.

Synonyms for “Said.” Web. Shelves.

To Kill a—

Words are tears

Waiting to be written.

Map. Flag. CD player.

Fire exit. Door.

Write words.

First impression at OLR. Doors—big and dark, holding all the unknown inside them.

* * *

“That’s your building there.” Eli pointed to the smaller square—dark doors, flat roof—beyond the pool, the plumeria, the yellow hibiscus.

I turned to wave goodbye to Dad once more, but he was already driving out the gate.

“That’s yours?” I asked about the other building—bigger, same dark doors.

Eli nodded. We were only separated by a couple of palms, a sidewalk.

Copyright © 2020 by Jennie Englund