A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Three Poems by Theo Hadley


We realize perhaps we’ve been
playing the waltz too slowly.

We continue rapping our knuckles
against the walls. Half of us learn
how to dance, the rest of us
learn how to cuff our jeans.

Pierre has a bad day. He climbs the stairs
and says No, Really too many times
and then he leaves.



We carry her box outside and my sister scrapes her knuckles on the doorway. We can’t find the gauze. I lay on the rug alone. I continue setting the table with too many knives. Dylan asks me if I can tell the difference. I can’t tell the difference. I look in the basement for the tape measure because I’ve always wondered which is the bigger room. Dylan tells me he doesn’t know yet and I can’t remember what he’s talking about. These things confuse me (sometimes I forget what I am looking for). I know how to use printers but this time it has been broken for two years and they told me and I should have noticed. I use someone else’s razor to shave my legs in the dark. Outside, it gets windier and windier. We assume it’s a fall thing.


For the Screwdriver in My Basement

One could hope that the women in this house
Will stop rearranging things.
That three months will pass and nothing will be said about the walls
That they will stop making holes and that
They will stop covering them.
That they will start knowing what they are doing when dealing with objects.
That when they play music that their grandfather listened to
And dance just off rhythm enough to look deranged
Or holy
They will stop making holes
Because the women in this house
They are always unscrewing things.

Theo Hadley wrote these poems while a ninth-grader at Nathan Hale High School with WITS Writer-in-Residence Danny Sherrard. She performed “For the Screwdriver in my Basement” at SAL’s 2017/18 Poetry Series event with Gregory Orr on February 7, 2018, at McCaw Hall.

Posted in 2017/18 SeasonStudent WritingPoetry SeriesWriters in the Schools