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Elementary visiting night

This corridor, which smells so much of varnish, Wax, and rancid chicken soup, contains The masterpieces of a younger age. Here, displayed, are Pilgrims, presidents and . . . things Which constitute the Themes of childhood. A youngest daughter, lengthening my arm, Leads on, past lesser works, to her own coup: A poster-painted page called ``Tom Turky.'' I do not laugh -- I have a ``turky'' lurking Some place in my past (a good one, too!). ``You have an artist's sense of form,'' I say. She nods her head and tries to understand. A teacher, whom I've heard a lot about, Explains ``Directions, Goals and Attitudes'' Reflected in my daughter's only work. (`I look again at ``Tom Turky'' -- There must be more to art than I can see.) This teacher wants me to agree, and nods, ``It's good. It's awfully good.'' But I can take No further step than thinking that it's shaped Somewhat like ``turkys'' that I would have drawn When I was under pressure in first grade. ``I'd like to take it home, is all I say. (I'm hugged by the embarrassed artist/child.) I know I'd hate to have my own rough drafts And early thoughts so closely scrutinized; Or thumbtacked up along some corridor; Or magneted to Grandma's Frigidaire. But I must walk her home from Visiting Night, And I must chat about her work at school. And, knowing I can't lie about her art, I hide from it and say, ``You've made a start.''

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