And Balls of Gum all in a Row… by Libby Hathorn


My teacher
Said it’s a real disgrace
When she saw inside
My pencil case.
‘You’d better clean it
Out right now!’
So I did
and that’s
exactly how

I  found

20 broken pencils
3 crumpled stencils
a hairy comb
a piece of foam
7 chewed pens
a lost camera lens
and balls of gum all in a row

6 good textas
3 leaking extras
one broken stapler
sticky liquid paper
several pencil shavings
a few dollar savings
and balls of gum all in a row

13 paper clips
7 orange pips
a long piece of string
a real diamond ring
one chocolate bar
(too soggy by far)
one orange rind
(the old wrinkly kind)
a black toothbrush
all kinds of mush
and balls of gum all in a row.

So I ditched the junk
In the paper bin
And my pencil case
Was super thin,
but I’m telling you
you just can’t win!
My teacher saw
where my gum was hid
and that was when
she flipped her lid!
My teacher said
‘They’ve got to go
Those balls of gum all in a row!

And it was special American gum too.

Source: Talks with my skateboard: A  Collection of poems by Libby Hathorn.  ABC, 1991.


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