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The Last Day

(Joseph’s artwork in fourth grade)

he comes home

carrying his ‘brag’ bag

filled with momentoes

from a year of


report card

demonstrating his young


scrapbook documenting

month to month


photos of smiling faces at

school gatherings

field trip camaraderie

confluence of friendship

word book

complete with letters and drawings

‘Q’ as in darling queen with an impressive crown

‘T’ as in smiling tiger

and, teary-eyed, he plops himself

down on the couch

the final goodbye

out in front of his school

had been hard

he had felt the fullness

of this special year

with his special friends

and special teacher

and I join him in this pool

of emotion

for the merry-go-round of

experience does

not falter

and life asks that we

let go and extend our hand

to meet with grace

the next


goodbye was not intended

to be easy

but it is simple

tears speak of

a good sadness

the heart’s way of showing

its gratitude

and willingness

to stay open

to further wonder and


so I hold him

in this bittersweet

of endings

and we are


Annie Kiyonaga


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