Jessica Jean

by Kenn Nesbitt

We planted some beans in our garden in class,
along with some peppers and pumpkins and grass.
We planted them neatly in straight little rows.
But Jessica Jean stuck her bean up her nose.

She did it discreetly, not making a peep.
She pushed with her pinky and poked it in deep,
then kept it a secret, so no one would know.
But, meanwhile, her bean was beginning to grow.

It popped out a leaf on the tiniest stalk.
It grew and unfolded and caused her to squawk,
then rapidly blossomed, becoming a vine,
while Jessica Jean was beginning to whine.

It quickly expanded to cover her lips.
It grew on her shoulders, her elbows, and hips.
It bloomed on her body and covered her clothes,
completely encasing her down to her toes.

It looped on her ankles, engulfing her feet,
cocooning her knees, and obscuring her seat,
concealing her up past the top of her chest,
her arms and her hands and then all of the rest.

And that was the last that has ever been seen
or heard of the student named Jessica Jean.
So always remember to plant them in rows,
and never, don’t ever, put beans in your nose.


Text © Kenn Nesbitt, reprinted from When the Teacher Isn’t Looking
published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Mike Gordon. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.


The Story Behind the Poem:
My mother-in-law was a teacher and her mother was a teacher. When I told my mother-in-law that I was working on a book of school poems, she told me that her mother once had a student who put a bean in her nose and didn’t tell anyone. The bean eventually sprouted and the student could no longer hide it. This sounded like a good idea for a poem to me, so I used it as the basis for "Jessica Jean."

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