Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
- TITLE: Lesson in Humility (a sestina)
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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I scanned my fourth grade class-that’s when I spotted
something indicating a disease
dotting Jillian’s cheeks and upturned nose.
I asked her if perchance the speckles itched;
and soon she was possessed by urgent scratching.
Our spelling champion, Jillian, would be scratching.
Her efforts for the bee had been in vain.
By Saturday her arms and legs were spotted;
“Bobby, my alternate, will go,” she knows.
But Friday, Bobby’s back and stomach itched.
His mother called, reporting his disease.
Chicken pox was clearly the disease
that had my stellar spellers ill and scratching.
Then Monday, at ten thirty on the nose,
while Sam read his report on weather vanes,
I noticed that his neck was sparsely spotted
and guessed his blotchy splotches surely itched.
I’d spurned the pox before, and now I itched
to vaccinate against the dread disease
before my fair complexion became spotted.
So, on my to-do list I started scratching,
“Call Doctor,” hoping it was not in vain.
I can’t be sick a week, God surely knows.
Now every savvy nurse and doctor knows
exposure to one student that has itched
means chicken pox will take its normal vein-
seize an entire classroom by disease.
Nothing stops the fever or the scratching.
Doc dismissed the notion I had spotted.
Tuesday, in the mirror a blotch was spotted
here, on my normally unblemished nose.
During penmanship I started scratching;
my nose wasn’t the only thing that itched.
I finally had succumbed to the disease;
No longer was this teacher feeling vain.
Now, nearly well, I’ve tried in vain to make my skin less spotted.
This noxious, cruel disease has given me a beet red nose.
If you must know, I’ve itched in places itches defy scratching.
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