Hammer. Crayons. Iron. Wax Paper. Grater. There was so much of this project that wasn’t safe for little fingers and toes. The kids collected the rejects: the dirty-wrappered, warped-wax, faded-colored, untipped, passed-over colored wonders. They brought them in to give birth to something new. The teacher handed out the perfect autumn leaf papers, stencil traced and stencil cut. She took their bags of crayons and ironed them in wax paper sandwiches. The smell was heady. When they put it all together each child taped their project up to the window. She missed the old crayons and the way they felt between her hands (or when the teacher wasn’t looking) between her teeth. She missed how some stood proud and stark naked and how others persisted in clinging to their ripped labels. She felt sad watching the light shimmer around the heavy brown paper. The redorangeyellowburntcrimsongoldpoppy graveyards they had so proudly created. Why were they trying so hard to make them all into identical copies of ‘something better’. She starred at the windows all through recess- unable to ask was she the only one who knew how beautiful they had been on their own?