Deb Reich
It's not the people... it's the paradigm.

Show & Tell in the Alien Planet Kindergarten

Ms. Brilliantine: (standing near her desk) Good morning, everyone!

Class: (boisterously) Good morning, Ms. B!

Ms. B: Show and tell today, everyone! Ready?

Class: (shouts of “Ready!” “We sure are!” etc.)

Cinzano (from his bot corner): Video cued, Ms. B.

Class:  (cheering)

Ms. B: Who would like to begin? Okay, let’s see… Kaepernick, how about you?

Kaepernick (standing): My cousin Kalani works at the Earth Research Archive at the university. They brought home a copy of a short poem they found the other day. They said it was from Earth’s Early Pandemic Era and they thought it was powerful for meditating on.

Ms. B: I see. Is it happy powerful, embodied powerful, or sad powerful, Kaepernick? Or some other kind?

Kaepernick: Sad powerful. The title is “The Train of Grief.”

Class: (quiets down)

Ms. B: (sighing inwardly) An interesting choice. Go ahead, Kaepernick. Read it slowly, with feeling. When you are done, Cinzano will bang the gong softly to invite the bell, and we will have fifteen minutes of silent meditation until they bang the gong softly again. Then we will share some responses (sits at her desk).

Embed from Getty Images

Kaepernick: This is the poem (begins reading aloud as the class listens):

The Train of Grief

All aboard!

The next station stop is…

Watch the closing doors.

The train of grief is coming, I can hear its whistle blow

in the dark when I lie down to sleep.

The train of death is coming too,

clattering down the track

and on, and on.

Anyone the train of death leaves behind,

the train of grief is sure to find them and

there will be mourning.

The city, the city, the city will mourn.

The train of grief is coming soon.

(Kaepernick sits.)

(Everyone closes their eyes and begins to focus on their breathing. Cinzano pauses the video and bangs the gong softly. The classroom is silent.)

…to be continued


About the Author
A native New Yorker, by profession a writer, editor, and translator, my passion after nearly forty years in Israel/Palestine is to explore how we might craft a better shared future by discarding the paradigm of enemies – an obsolete social design, now highly toxic. Read more in my book, No More Enemies, available on my website or from online booksellers.
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