Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

In this poem Marcia Brown, Portland’s poet laureate, remembers the most dramatic 50 minutes of her eighth-grade geography class.


By Marcia Brown

In eighth grade, Matilda

Savino held us in her thrall

by dangling

for 50 minutes of Geography

one loafer precariously

from her toe.

Right knee crossed over her left.

tiny skirt high on her thighs,

she let the well-worn loafer loll

back and forth, back

and forth, clinging

against physics

to her otherwise bare

and shapely foot.

Mr. Perkins couldn’t keep his eyes off it

and forgot the names of continents,

while we all sat

in shocked, delicious anticipation –

waiting to record the seismic shift

of one shoe dropping,

then the other.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem Copyright © 2010 by Marcia Brown. Reprinted from “What on Earth,” Moon Pie Press, 2010. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc at [email protected] or (207) 228-8263. “Take Heart: Poems from Maine,” an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.