The first day of kindergarten,
Mrs. Dodd went over the class rules,
including naptime.
What a ripoff, I thought.
Sleeping is boring.
Bring on the books and the art projects,
I thought.
Anyway, the teacher would tap
the quietest rester with the
special wand
and that child will get to be
the wake-up fairy that day.

Sounded like a cool job,
so I volunteered.
Got that wrong.
Not a job you volunteered for.
You had to be chosen,
which made me want it that much more.

Days went by and I tried to be quiet.
I whispered quietly to everyone around me.
Others were chosen,
but not me.

Weeks went by.
Even maybe months went by.
I figured some kids had gotten multiple
turns and still I wasn’t picked.
This was a gyp.
I wasn’t that loud.
I figured I had to get picked eventually.

Finally, after what seemed like months
of school but probably wasn’t that long,
I got picked!

When I gently took the wake-up wand
from Mrs. Dodd’s hand,
it felt magical.
It was powerful,
being the one to choose
who got to get up next.

I walked over to each child,
gently tapping them and whispering,
“It’s time to wake up.”
Each one got up and went over
to the tables for snack time,
just like we were supposed to.

Finally there was just one child left.

I went over and gently tapped David
on the shoulder and whispered,
“It’s time to wake up.”
He didn’t move.

So I tapped him a little harder
on the shoulder and
whispered a little louder,
“It’s time to wake up.”
He still didn’t move.
In fact, he started to snore a little.

So I tapped him harder
on the shoulder and
said in a regular voice,
“It’s really time to get up now!”
He still didn’t move.
I think he started drooling.

Mrs. Dodd hadn’t covered this
in her instructions for how
to be the wake-up fairy.
I was on my own.

Feeling all-powerful
I started whacking David
on the shoulder with the
magic wake-up wand and shouting,
“It’s time to wake up!
I’m the wake-up fairy and
you have to do what I say!”

Mrs. Dodd rushed over,
grabbed the wand and said crossly,
“Jenny, that’s not how we behave!”
My wake-up fairy career was short lived.

Jennifer Gurney lives in Colorado where she teaches, paints, writes and hikes. She is a newly published poet, at age 59, with over 100 poems in print thus far. Jennifer has also published commentary about poetry. During the pandemic she joined the online poetry community of The Daily Haiku.