Fifteen, Maybe Sixteen Things to Worry About

My pants could maybe fall down when I dive off the diving board.
My nose could maybe keep growing and never quit.
Miss Brearly could ask me to spell words like stomach and special.
(Stumick and speshul?)
I could play tag all day and always be “it.”
Jay Spievack, who’s fourteen feet tall, could want to fight me.
My mom and my dad–like Ted’s–could want a divorce.
Miss Brearly could ask me a question about Afghanistan.
(Who’s Afghanistan?)
Somebody maybe could make me ride a horse.
My mother could maybe decide that I needed more liver.
My dad could decide that I needed less TV.
Miss Brearly could say that I have to write script and stop printing.
(I’m better at printing.)
Chris could decide to stop being friends with me.

The world could maybe come to an end on next Tuesday.
The ceiling could maybe come crashing on my head.
I maybe could run out of things for me to worry about.
And then I’d have to do my homework instead.

– Judith Viorst


Ah, the things we used to worry about. And I don’t say this in a patronizing fashion, nodding my head and saying, “Kids!”. The concerns the narrator has are real, and remind us that childhood is not one long lazy dream however much nostalgia clouds our picture of how it was.
This is a poem that is light-hearted in tone, and starts and finishes that way but addresses some serious concerns before it’s done.
You can read more about Judith Viorst, here.

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  1. […] the all-too-real scenes that we’ve all been through. We’ve run another poem by Viorst here. You can read more about Judith Viorst, […]

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