A Ten-Year-Old’s Worst Nightmare

Continuing on the trend of housecleaning, I have unearthed my very first chapbook of poetry. “But Lisa,” you may say! “You’ve never published a chapbook!” BUT HAVEN’T I.

Back in fourth grade* I was assigned the task of creating a book of poetry, entitled A Ten Year Old’s Worst Nightmare and Other Poems. This was no small project: we were to create a cover for it on cardstock, and create a “Table of Contence” (organized by poem type), and write and illustrate eight whole pages-worth of poetry. (Perhaps foreshadowing my future as a poet, mine contained a full eleven poems.) This collection was then bound using our elementary school’s REAL BINDING MACHINE.

It’s also worth noting that this was my first (and so far only) poetry chapbook, but according to the “About the Author” on the inside back cover, it is not my first published book: “Lisa Eldred’s first book, ‘Hospital Experience” shared with you one of her experiences in the hospital. Now, she shares her worst** nightmare.” If at some point I recover Hospital Experience I may share excerpts from that literary classic as well. (In retrospect, I should have included an “About the Illustrator.”)

Today, I present to you the eponymous poem, “A Ten-Year-Old’s Worst Nightmare.” I would like to bring your attention to several things:

  1. Star Wars’ influence was already evident in my writing.
  2. This is, in fact, NOT AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. It is a WORK OF FICTION. You can tell because I have never owned a cat.
  3. To my knowledge, this is the first appearance of the name “Jeromy” in my writing. I don’t know why I used it here, but it appears elsewhere in its traditional spelling in later works of fiction, such as the unpublished GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL that all book-lovers are under contract to have in draft form at any given point in time. I don’t know where I came up with it. I didn’t know any Jeremys.
  4. There is precisely one line that I don’t find absolutely ridiculous. I leave it to reader judgment to decide which one it is.

Enjoy this classic work! This is surely the poem that will net me a place in the annals of history.


*I know it was fourth grade because the last poem is an acrostic using my teacher’s name.

**”worst” here is underlined nine times, perhaps in a subtle allusion to Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell.

A Ten Year Old’s Worst Nightmare

Written circa autumn of fourth grade

Wipe, sew, wash sweep, dust.
These things do, you must.

There are dishes to do, and breakfast to make.
If you are good I will give you some cake.

Oh, woe is me! Woe is me!
The dog got bitten by a flea.

Oh mother, mother! Dread, oh dread!
Jeromy just chopped off his head!

Oh mother, mother! Please, oh please!
The cat just got a cat disease!

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