The Grumpy Valentine (149 words)

by Marilyn Wolpin (For Susannah Hill’s Valentiny Contest February 2021)

Hearts. Roses.
Glitter. Glue.
Bah! Phooey!
Not me. Ewww!

Teacher says,
“Make a valentine for everyone.”
I won’t do it. No, I won’t.
I don’t like anyone.
And no one likes me.

I cross my arms.
I scowl. I pout.
“Cut out hearts. Color them in.”
Nope. I won’t.
No one gets a heart from me.
You’ll see.

Wait! What’s this?
An envelope?
“Will you be my valentine?”
Signed Emily?

Someone likes me?
Emily?
I like her.
She sings out loud.
She swings a wicked baseball bat.
I play baseball. I sing. Sorta.

Where’s my crayon?
Where’s my heart?
“Will you …
be my ..,
valentine?”

Glitter, glue.
Now I’m through.
I sit and stare at the scribbly-scrabble.
Will she like it?
A little bit?

I stare. I sit.
I think. I blink.
Can I give it? Do I dare?

Finally …
I inch up
to her chair.
There.

Ollie’s Christmas Visits by Marilyn Wolpin

Christmas day at break of dawn
Ollie barks, “Please let me out.”
Down the steps, across the lawn
He’s starting on his route.

Ollie has a job today:
Help bring on a smile,
In his very special way:
His friendship for a while.

Almost there – around the bend,
She’s waiting at the door.
Gray-haired Mrs. Townsend,
He’ll make her smile – and more!

With outstretched arms
She hugs her friend –
A dog with charms
That never end.

Ollie’s done.
It’s time to go.
Another one
Is lonely, so –

Off he goes,
Around the block.
Ollie knows
He’s on the clock.

Mr. Tom is lonely
He needs a visit bad.
Here comes happy Ollie.
A smile shows Tom is glad.

Tom shares a delicious treat
and throws a bouncing ball.
He says, “Ollie, you’re so sweet
to make this special call.”

But Ollie has more work to do,
Another lonesome friend to greet.
A green backyard to cut through
And just across the street.

Mr. Green lives all alone.
No children or a mate.
He never chatters on the phone.
Ollie bustles through the gate.

Mr. Green wheels to the door,
And ushers his guest in.
Ollie helps him with a chore,
And watches his friend grin.

Christmas day is fading fast.
Ollie’s jobs are done.
Helping’s fun. He had a blast!
He heads home on the run.

Ollie’s finished spreading joy.
But he needs mom’s help now.
Hugs, rubs, and “Who’s a good boy?”
And a bowl of puppy chow.

Author’s Note: This story was inspired by a real-life 14-year old blind and deaf golden retriever named Oliver who spends his days visiting his neighbors. The people in the poem are pure fiction.