The Power of Words

The Wisest Woman In The Eighth Grade–Taylor Mali

I tell Diana I am teaching at an all boy’s school

and she tells me she thought I knew better.

You of all people Mr. Mali.

I would have thought you had learned by now

that Girls Rule.

I want to say, “What makes you think I haven’t?”

Or perhaps, “What makes you think you didn’t

teach me a lesson yourself” Or perhaps…

No. I have to remember that this is the girl

who held my hand on the camping trip

to keep her balance when she sneezed

and said, If it’s true what they say—

that sex is better than this-

then I can hardly wait.

Perhaps it was then I understood

how close we live to serious disciplinary action.

How rarely are we more than a sentence away

from chaos, tears, emotional wrecks and wrecked careers.

We haul the barges of our own destruction

behind us with lines we never throw out.

Words have power.  Not like engines, like atoms.

You can split your whole life apart

if you gather all the wrong words together in the right place.

Even a single letter can work wonders

if you write it well and mean it.

So even though I teach

At an all boys school now,

God bless you, Diana.

God bless you.


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