My Music Teacher

by Joanne Godley

My fourth-grade music teacher was a tall, grim-faced man who enforced strict rules about how we were to sit in our seats during class and how we were to sing. If he caught you touching the back of your chair with your shoulders or mouthing the words to a song instead of singing, you were called to the front of the room and he would either 1) grab you by the shoulders and shake you or 2) strike your outstretched hand with a paddle. Whenever a kid was punished, she cried and cried causing snot to whirl around the room, especially if she was being shaken. In those instances, I felt as though I was bearing witness to a secret torture scene and I wanted to explode. I would close my eyes and imagine my teacher shrinking down to a mere two feet in size and me expanding to six feet of snarling, growling adult mass. Then, I would stand there for a moment, towering over him, letting him feel my power, before tapping him ever so lightly with my toe, sending him flying.


Joanne Godley is a Maine-based writer, poet and physician. Her six sentences are recalled from her childhood memories.