When I was in Sixth grade
I wrote an essay about bats
I think the assignment was to write about conservation
So I wrote about bats
how incredible they are 
and how they need an ally
It was submitted by my teacher 
and it won first place
not just of my school
but of the whole state of schools
and not just of my age group
but of middle schoolers and highschoolers
I won a $200 savings bond and a plaque,
there was a ceremony in my town
and a lot of adults were there

But the thing I was most proud of
was that I had forgot to do the assignment
I had arrived in class empty handed
In tall white cursive on the board,
were the words 
Turn in your essays today!
I knew this teacher with the beautiful penmanship
collected assignments at the beginning of class
so in the 2 mins while she welcomed us
and told us about our next project
I wrote my essay
without any reference material
no corrections, no drafts
It was the only one I saw not typed
we had been given several weeks to do it
I was most proud
that I wrote something like that
something that blew away the judges
those probably working to save this beautiful earth
we are privileged to play upon
I wrote a full page from my heart
in tiny purple letters
and I didn’t even read it
before I turned it in

I didn’t write this to brag
although I am proud of that thing
And certainly I was reminded of those 26 years ago
when my friend pointed out yesterday the beauty of that number
and how it had become her guide
and I looked up all the significances of it to send her
Wikipedia had some interesting information 
and it’s really surprising how magical that number is!
And it wasn’t necessarily because this evening,
while I basked in the afterglow of the double rainbow
on the upper decks of the fire escape
giant bats flew figure eights incredibly close to my head
So speedily dispatching
the zillions of mosquitoes
that pervade my large and overgrown backyard
I bear their marks
But it was more this uncomfortable feeling
that after 26 years
I am getting pretty close to being old
and yet I still have to defend the idea
that great work doesn’t come from toiling
it comes from feeling and knowing
and trying
and not giving up on that which seems done
and not paying too much attention to others
and how well they’ve prepared and typed and bound
because every once in awhile
people can really see you