Vote of Confidence

We settled in pretty smoothly to our second week of the residency with a very different poem to read and discuss: Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s “One Vote.” Unlike last week’s selection, there’s no overt reliance on rhyme (aside from a few intermittent instances), but instead more of a narrative mode with vivid details and descriptions. Some students remarked on the poem’s ‘turn’ in its last two lines, which is where the title is mentioned; but how does voting relate to the eagle in the text? I asked if it could be a symbol, and we thought about the “olives and arrows” it’s depicted clutching, what they could mean in the context here. We decided that they suggest peace and war, relating to the eagle as an image for freedom; and the speaker saying that the “eagle must fly / on its own accord,” as well as “make the choice on its own // no matter what its been taught” ties into the ‘turn’ at the end, where “one / vote can make the difference for every bright thing.”

That line about choice provided the prompt for this week: write a poem about a choice you had to make. I reminded the students that poems can be personal, but they’re also free to write about choice itself, or as characters.

Ms. Kawa, 4th Grade

Trading Cards
Alec B.

I say hello to my friends. I
know that I should take them out. But when
should I decide it is time?

I ask to see
the other’s cards. To see if there are
any to consider. It
shines bright and has a rough texture. The picture
has a creature

in flight, soaring through the sky. I take my
beautiful card with a yellow
dog scampering through the streets. It’s
background is glistening like when the sun
catches the water.

I ask “How about this one?”
He says yes. We exchange cards and walk
separate ways content about our decisions.

Kennedy B.

I had a choice to fly like a bird
or stay and be like a desert
I was trapped in an empty room
everywhere I turned was a wall

Should I follow my heart
or follow my brain?
It was a hard choice to make

Which one should I choose?
I’m going insane
I’m stuck in the middle nowhere to

I found myself at this choice
to fly like a bird and reach
the sky

Audrey C.

Vote, difficult.

Choosing somebody to write a biography
about, hard.

Choosing what you are going to wear the
next day, easy.

Choices connect us, bring us together,
unite us.

Choices keep us civilized.

Choices, are our nation, choices are simple
as yes, and no . . .

Theo K.

Choices, an interesting thing
in our control but sometimes not
as difficult as they are

I chose what book to read
didn’t know what to do
so I just picked one

Big choice
small choice
you can decide

Something New
Rohan R.

So many things to
do today.

Will it be the movies, or the park,
even go someplace different.

Should I do the same
as every day
or do something new—

I don’t have a clue.

Rylee S.

I had to choose what dessert I wanted.
It took a long time but I went with my main
dessert, cookies.

Homework First
Montgomery W.

My mother said, “Homework first!”
I didn’t agree
I wanted to play in the warmth of the sun
So I did
No homework tonight means no play tomorrow
A sad day
Homework first

Ms. Ball, 4th Grade

Destiny F.

I was at home and playing a game and I
had decided to trade away my digital pet.
The trade went well so then I still traded with others.

A Choice
Amari G.

Once I made a choice,
whether to speak my voice.
It was hard, so nobody would

I was getting ready to do it,
and when I did I felt good!
Now we can all make happy and be happy,
while birds are all flappy.

Kyleigh G.

It has to come down to one
Option 1, 2, 3, or even 4.
You may feel blue from a choice or two
just know I’ll be there
for you.
My mind is weird like a monkey
or even weird as the wind.
Picking a choice or even a vote can be
as unfair like life.
Choices can be like people in your
it’s hard to find a friend
like turning on a light in the dark.

The Choice I Made
Leticia L.

Choices are hard
choices need time
I once made a choice
to move different places
every 3 years
this decision
was hard,
as a big rock falling
down on me
I had no choice
but to move away again
sometimes I regret
my decision
sometimes I start
to really miss my
old life and my
old friends
but sometimes
everyone has to move
away at some point
life should always mean
not be

How to Know
Olivia W.

How to know what to wear? When you ask they
say the choice is yours. But how to choose?
How to know what to eat? When you ask they
say whatever you want. But how to choose?
These choices are almost impossible to make.
But I leave one final question: How to know
what to choose?

The Council
Emma W.

Should I run for a position
in student council?
So many things to do
like an obstacle course
big and bright blue.

Who would I vote for?
I have no clue.
For her, for him, for you.
What do I do?

When it comes to this or that
I am not the best for that
I may understand
when I am older.
Right now I am young
and among everyone else.
It was just myself feeling
this way.

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

The Choice
Olivia C.

Today I had a choice.
The choice was “if it’s hat day, what hat should I put on?”
It was too hard, so I didn’t wear a hat today.
Some people had hats on, some people didn’t.

There’s also another choice on Monday.
It is hard.
“Should I wear a mask on Monday?”
I am still not sure.

Viriya C.

Choices are important, even if not possible.
Characters of books often find some impossible.
Because the world is forever changing
you must make a choice, no matter how challenging.

Choices are always ranging
from possible to impossible.
A choice can be life-threatening and perilous
or something simple and basic.

Imagine yourself standing, pale on a stage.
Someone orders you to pick a friend to save.
What’s your choice, say it now
before the world falls.

Zoe F.

everyday I have to make a choice on what to
wear to school because most of the time I swear
it’s super hard to find matches

Sasha G.

How long it would take for me?

What can I draw?

Isn’t it so much fun? Whee

Can it be a house or a mouse?

Can it be like me? Woohoo

Choice Turns Into Regret
Victoria M.

You run not thinking
what will happen
next. You fall you
scream just a
game. Can make you not
walk. You hope it’s not
serious. The next day you limp.
Everything goes dark the next
thing you know

you’re getting stitches
you think you’ll be
able to walk
on two feet but
now you’re on crutches

you think you will never
remember it but you’re
wrong you can never
forget it ’cause it
will be there forever.
It’s a scar be worried
very worried.

Quintin W.

Choices I made were difficult and hard
like a rock but made my choice.
It was hard at first but then
easy like pie.
When I made my choice I felt great
and the choice was if I wanted
to see my dad and I said no.
at the end I felt great
and went out to eat cake.

The Choice
Luca W.

A boy is at a
basketball game.
Will he pass
or shoot?
He needs to
make a

He thinks
and thinks
and thinks.
He needs to
make a choice.

He said “It’s time to make up my
mind.” He goes for the shot
and his team wins by nine.

He thought to himself, I’m feeling
very fine!

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

Candy or Crackers
Atessa D.

Choice, choice, what’s my choice.
A crunchy cracker or a candy stacker.
What’s my choice to make me

Or maybe I can have some
sweet strawberries or a juicy
cucumber. What’s my choice to make
me rejoice.

Let me have all of my choices.
I’m now rejoiced. Yummy!

Sydney D.

This dog is special,
she is mine. Her name is Kona.
She has a choice every few minutes.

This choice is important . . .
to her. She might choose to go up the
stairs . . .
or she might choose to NOT
and be safe.

But again, she might choose to go up the
stairs. This choice if she chose it would end up
either safely up the stairs
or falling down on her butt.

Still she has a choice.

Poem of Life
Oliver G.

Cheese or Oreos, which one?
I’m in deep thinking, the thinking
it crawls into your head it makes you dizzy.

CHOMP! CHOMP! The ideas are
destroyed you think.
Is this the right idea?
No! No! You can’t think right
you’re dizzy the darkness crawls to you . . .

You start to fade is this a dream?
Are you alive? Are you dead?
You shake your head you’re alive but . . .

but . . . oh oh oh oh! Click!
You know what to choose

the Oreos are new!
You take a deep breath and choose . . .


My Dog Had to Make a Choice
Aaricia G.

Once my dog had to make a choice
when me and my brother were
getting ready for bed both of
us wanted the dog for bed and
we started fighting for the dog and
my dad had an idea so we took some treats
and let our dog choose.

We got so excited but . . . . . . . .
my dog chose


And I was so sad
because I love my
dog and she betrayed me.

How sad.

Ella M.

What should I do?
Choosing between two
Should I do this
Should I do that
I am left with a second
To make an impossible decision
But all that’s left in my brain is
I yearn to be free
From this locked cage of impossible choices
Where is the key?
What should I do?

Sophia M.

What a hard choice!
I can’t decide.
But I don’t want to resign.
I have to make a choice.

Will it matter in the end?
Should I lend
my friend
a helping hand?
Or ignore the friendship rules?

Will I ever come to a conclusion?
Please pardon all the confusion.
5 minutes until the end.
I guess I should lend my friend a hand.

Ring Ring! Ring Ring!

Making a Choice
Sarah O.

I don’t know what to
write about.

Think! Think, think, think!

. . . I don’t know
I wrote, and wrote, and wrote!
And what do I get back in return?
. . . nothing

Maybe . . .

I can use my imagination
. . . of course!

I know! A poem about making a choice!

So . . . “Making a Choice” will be how I will make
my poem.

Miles S.

Choices are important.
This is a story of

One choice can mess
you up.
Like choosing a
door that leads to freedom
or .

Choices are one of the
most used things
that people do.
It’s an everyday thing.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.