“Composition Notebook”

Written by Jacqueline Woodson, Author of Brown Girl Dreaming

And somehow, one day, it’s just there

speckled black-and-white,  the paper
inside smelling like something I could fall right into,
live there–inside those clean white pages.

I don’t know how my first composition notebook
ended up in my hands, long before I could really write
someone must have known that this
was all I needed.

Hard not to smile as I held it, felt the breeze
as I fanned the pages.
My sister thought my standing there
smiling was crazy
didn’t understand how the smell and feel and sight
of bright white paper
could bring me so much joy.

And why does she need a notebook? She can’t even write!

For days and days, I could only sniff the pages,
hold the notebook close
listen to the sound the papers made.

Nothing in the world is like this–
a bright white page with
pale blue lines. The smell of a newly sharpened pencil
the soft hush of it
moving finally
one day
into letters.

And even though she’s smarter than anything,
this is something
my sister can’t even begin
to understand.