Dodo Birds and Orchids

I enjoy many, many things my students write, but every once in a while, one of them writes a poem that really strikes me. I’ll walk around thinking about it. I’ll want to tell it to everyone I know. This happens to me with all my favorite poems. I guess it’s just that some of my favorite poets are seven years old.

I recently shared Kaveh Akbar’s “Orchids are Sprouting from the Floorboards,” with my students, because he is a new favorite poet of mine. The kids loved it, and said amazing and thoughtful/hilarious things about it. (“Maybe Lydia is the earth, the normal earth that is not covered in orchids.” “It reminds me of woodpeckers, and my grandmother.” “Oh, I thought it was ORCAS are sprouting from the floorboards.” “I love people with weird hair.” ) And then we wrote our own poems where a word comes back again and again, and then doesn’t.

Lots and lots of great writing came out of that day, including a poem by Amaya that I’ve been carrying with me ever since: Dodo bird I want you on this earth/I wish I could give you a note/Dodo bird where have you gone?

It’s hard to say why we love the poems we do, but we do.


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