Standing on the Desk

By Donna L. Emerson

Featured Image: “The Girl by the Window” by Edvard Munch

I am twelve years old in Mr. Ody’s art class and he’s teaching me to use an
eraser on my watercolor of rain and sun. To make the sun stream like spotlights
through the clouds. He moves the eraser by placing his hand over mine. He rests
his hand on my wrist a little longer.
I start to back away.

He asks me to be a model for the class. He lets me stand on his desk. He says,
Don’t take your eyes off her. Let your pencil try to draw her without ever stopping your looking and drawing. I’m glad I wore my new turquoise skirt and
flowered blouse. Mr. Ody pulls his chair out to see better.

While Danny Sessa makes jokes, I can feel Mr. Ody’s eyes. He’s staring. I turn
red, start to joke back and Mr. Ody says, Just stand still and be quiet.

This was the beginning of the first time.


Retired from college teaching & private practice (LCSW), Donna’s recent poetry appears in the Denver Quarterly, MacGuffin, Verdad, Weber–the Contemporary West. Publications include four chapbooks, two poetry collections, “The Place of Our Meeting,” (2017) and ” Beside the Well,” (2019). Recent awards: two nominations for a California Book Award, two nominations for a Pushcart, one Best of the Net, two Allen Ginsberg awards. Visit her on her website, donnaemerson.com, where her books may be seen and purchased.

Originally appeared in NOR 11.

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