Group Home Before Miss Edna's House

Jacqueline Woodson

The monsters that come at night don't
breathe fire, have two heads or long claws.

The monsters that come at night don't
come bloody and half-dead and calling your name.

They come looking like regular boys
going through your drawers and pockets saying

You better not tell Counselor else I'll beat you down.
The monsters that come at night snatch

the covers off your bed, take your
pillow and in the morning

steal your bacon when the cook's back is turned
call themselves The Throwaway Boys, say

You one of us now.
When the relatives stop coming

When you don't know where your sister is anymore
When every sign around you says

Group Home Rules: Don't
do this and don't do that

until it sinks in one rainy Saturday afternoon
while you're sitting at the Group Home window

reading a beat-up Group Home book,
wearing a Group Home hand-me-down shirt

hearing all the Group Home loudness, that
you are a Throwaway Boy.

And the news just sits in your stomach
hard and heavy as Group Home food.


Last updated November 25, 2022