Another Year Done (Two Poems for the End of the School Year)

Having spent much of my adult life as a teacher (and all of my childhood as a student), I tend to measure time in school-years. And here we are, at the culmination of yet another year of growth, embarking on the season of rest, freedom and general wilding-out: SUMMER BREAK.

Now, as a parent of two school-age children, this end-of-year time hits my Feels even harder. My daughter graduates kindergarten this week, moving into the “real” grades (the ones with numbers), and my son will be entering third grade in the fall, which in his school means moving upstairs, with the “big kids.”

It’s momentous… and it’s not.

I know it’s just another year of growth, just another month coming to an end, just another day passing in our full and busy lives. But it feels so punctuated – all the frenzy of the last week of school building up to the moment where backpacks are thrown to the back of a closet and gym shoes are traded for flip-flops. I know that when they return to school in the fall, they will be just a little more seasoned…learned a bit more about life…had a few more sunburns and scraped knees under their belts.

So in my end-of-school-year nostalgia, today I offer you two poems: one from the perspective of teacher and one from the perspective of parent. (I’m not crying… you are.)

XO ~ Skye

The Emptying

There is a stabbing stillness in the minutes following the final bell— the tinnitus of the hallway like pin-pricks on my skin. 

It ricochets off rows of locker doors —waving their feeble farewell at deflated backpacks that disappear like paratroopers one by one out the side door.

I always felt unfinished — standing in my silly tears and choking on cliches— as they tripped out of my class, slipped out of my grasp, stumbling over each other in their rush towards summer.

STOP! There’s so much more I need to teach you!

Here, this day of FINALLY!—of freedom from tedium—this day that could not come soon enough—has somehow come too soon, somehow arrived before they’ve quite grown up enough/learned enough/listened enough to be ready for release,

But it seems now they’ve gone,

And I’m still here—behind the blockade of 900 discarded spiral-bound notebooks, half a dozen unclaimed jackets rolling like tumbleweeds over the streaky linoleum—I’m still here, me and the phantom ringing of bells.

©Skye Nicholson 2021
(originally published in Scrittura, an online literary magazine on

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Every Year

Every year they surprise me 
by getting longer. 
When did she grow the legs of a woman?
And him, with that smirk—
the one I saw on his dad when we first met.

While they thought I wasn’t watching 
they’ve became their own people—
thinking thoughts they’ll never share,
knowing things I cannot guess.

I want them to run
as fast as they can,
fly to the top of mountains,
wave to me from the moon,
and be everything they’ve dreamed 
and more.

Just not today. 

©Skye Nicholson 2022
(originally published in Being Known, an online literary magazine on

Photo by author | All rights reserved

Skye Nicholson is a This Naked Mind certified Empowerment and Recovery Coach. She founded Soul’s Truth Coaching LLC in 2021 and helps women rediscover their inner power through group and one-on-one coaching services. Her first book of collected works Unexpected Alchemy: Poems of Addiction and Awakening, is available on Amazon.

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