Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera

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Authors: Robin Herrera
he noticed. He caught up with me in the hallway and asked if I’d read any other poems yet.
    â€œI’ve been busy,” I told him.
    â€œOh, okay,” Eddie said, and I thought that’s what he really meant and that he’d drop the whole poem thing, but a couple of steps later he started to recite this poem from memory. It was short and kind of funny, but it didn’t make any sense. He said it was by someone namedGwendolyn Brooks and asked me what I thought.
    â€œI think Emily Dickinson wrote two thousand poems,” I said. “I think if we do one poem a week, we’ll be set for life.”
    We were almost to the front steps, when Eddie put a hand on my shoulder and shoved me a little bit. Not enough to knock me over, just enough to steer me into the edge of the hallway.
    â€œWhat was that for?” I asked.
    â€œFor being so stubborn,” he said. “Is that why you’re in detention? I’ve been wondering, ’cause it’s not like you’re a bad kid or anything.”
    I said it was none of his business why I was in detention, and he muttered, “Yup, I knew it.”
    We sat down on the steps, and Eddie started another poem. This one was by Robert Frost, and it was almost as good as one of Emily Dickinson’s poems, but when I told Eddie that, he said, “I hate Robert Frost.”
    â€œThen why did you even recite it?”
    â€œBecause I knew you’d like it, since you have the worst taste in poetry,” he said, and I felt like shoving
him
just a little bit, enough to knock him down a step.
    Langston appeared then, plopping down right next to me and saying, “Hey, Mullet.” I wondered if he even remembered my name.
    While Eddie recited some more poems, Langston used a wood chip to chisel the dried mud out of the lugs of his boots. At one point he asked me how long my fingernails were and if I would mind trying to dig into this one little crack in his sole, because he was pretty sure there was a rock there, and he’d do it himself except he had a bad habit of eating his fingernails. Eating his fingernails.
Eating his fingernails
.
    I used my pencil instead. Langston asked if eating fingernails was one of those things that boys did that girls did not like, and I looked him right in his sunken eyes and said, “
Yes
.”
    When I finally got home, I couldn’t believe it was 5:30. But the microwave said it, and so did the clock on the wall,and so did the answering machine when I checked the messages. I even asked Mom and Gloria, who were sitting at the built-in table talking about some girls they’d gone to high school with, and they both said the same thing.
    I just couldn’t believe I’d spent a whole hour sitting on the steps with Eddie and Langston, talking.
    Why couldn’t they be people I actually wanted to be friends with?

W hile Mom made dinner, something noodle-y with bell peppers and carrots, I checked on my Dad bag, which I’d hidden under my bed. It felt like something was missing. What else was I supposed to bring? Since Mom had never taken us on a Dad trip, I had no idea. I tossed in my club notebook, in case Dad had any ideas for it, and, at the last second, Eddie’s big red poetry book. I was determined to find a poem, a good poem, so that he would have to take back what he’d said about my taste in poetry.
    â€œDo you have a favorite poem?” I asked Mom as she dumped a Gloria-sized portion onto my plate.
    She chewed on the end of her wooden spoon for amoment, then she said, “‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood …’ ”
    â€œNo, no,” I told her. “That won’t work.”
    â€œWhat about ‘ The Raven’?” Gloria said. “‘Said the raven, Gimme more!’ Isn’t that how it goes?”
    â€œThat doesn’t sound like a good poem,” I said, and then I told them both to forget about it, but of course they

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