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Mrs. McKeown's Poetry
Hispanic/Latino Poet

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Confession to Mrs. Robert L. Snow

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Introduction:
Discuss times where students have blamed something they have done on someone else. Also discuss a time where they had to confess about something they did wrong. Then read the poem.

I can clear my name.
It was my brother, not me,
Who stole your fruit
And sold that pop
Bottle on your porch,
Nickel for his pocket
And a jaw breaker that
Shattered like a star
When Mother got us alone,
Naked with our two sins.
It was brother, not me.
I was saintly that
Summer, inside and out,
And went around in my
Green Catholic sweater,
Even though it was
Summer and no school.
Good on Sundays, I
Could jump from a chair
And spell my name
Three times before
I dropped to my feet.
I jumped from the fence,
The incinerator, the house
air all around for
Seconds and me flapping
As I spelled the holy
Countries of the world,
Yugoslavia as best I could.
My brother watched,
Sister with a jaw breaker
That was yet another
Bottle from your porch.
They witnessed me hang
In the air, a little.
They shouted for me
To fly over the tree,
Your tree, and come back
With the glory of apricots.
I leaped beyond the clothes
Line and found myself
In the bush, hurt.
I touched this sparkling hurt
And ran inside to ask
Mother what was
Hurting me. Horns, she
Said with her witch's mouth,
Devil horns! My sweater
Went limp on my body.
That did it. To hell
With the saints. I walked
To your yard, not flew,
And let the apricots
And pop bottles alone.
While you watered
The front yard, I sneaked
Through the back door
And took a happy dollar
From your purse.
I laughed into my hands.
Horns, I whispered,
Big horns for me.

--Gary Soto --

Found at:

http://www.pshares.org/issues/article.cfm?prmArticleID=2101

Extention:
Have the students work in pairs to write a similar poem about childhood experiences.