Skip to main content
Jacqueline Woodson


cover of Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Poetry As Fiction

From Locomotion

Group Home Before Miss Edna’s House

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 you 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 ever 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 new just sits in your stomach
hard and heavy as Group Home food.

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is an American writer of books for adults, children, and adolescents. She is best known for her National Book Award-Winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way. Her picture books The Day You Begin and The Year We Learned to Fly were NY Times Bestsellers. After serving as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress for 2018–19. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2020. Later that same year, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.