I had a crude grip on the pencil when I filled in these squares–
High up the neck and held too tightly,
The hexagon imprinting
Lines on my fingers
That would remain there for hours.
This was the sixth and final series and summer was over–
Second grade had started, and I imagine
That white-haired Ms. O’Connell
Was impressing on me
The need to hold a pencil correctly.
During lunch I’d sit at my desk with a secret stack of cards:
Blefary, Archie Reynolds, Griffin In Action,
Willie Montanez, Foli,
Dunning, Kaat, and Bahnsen,
Paul Blair but no Bill Virdon.
The checklist is a fossil now and only half complete–
Did I stop recording progress,
Or end that year’s collecting
To instead absorb stern lessons
On how to hold a pencil?