A poem for you this Wednesday

DREAM TEACHING

 Edwin Romond

 

I am first in line for coffee

and the copier is not broken yet.

This is how dreams begin in teaching high school.

 

First period the boy who usually carves skulls

into his desk raises his hand instead

to ask about Macbeth and, for the first time,

I see his eyes are blue as melting ice.

Then, those girls in the back

stop passing notes and start taking them

and I want to marvel at tiny miracles

but still another hand goes up

and Butch the drag racer says he found the meaning

in that Act III soliloquy.  Then more hands join the air

that is now rich with wondering and they moan

at the bell that ends our class and I ask myself,

“How could I have thought of calling in sick today?”

 

I open my eyes for the next class and no one’s late,

not even Ernie who owns his own time zone

and they’ve all done their homework

that they wave in the air

because everyone wants to go to the board

to underline nouns and each time I turn around

they’re looking at me as if I know something

they want and, steady as sunrise, they do everything right.

 

At lunch the grouchy food lady discovers smiling

and sneaks me an extra meatball. In the teachers’ room

we eat like family and for twenty-two minutes

not one of us bitches about anything.

 

Then the afternoon continues the happiness of hands

wiggling with answers and I feel such a spark

when spike-haired Cindy in the satanic tee shirt

picks the right pronoun and glows like a saint.

And me, I’m up and down the room now, cheering,

cajoling, heating them up like a revival crowd.

I’m living only in exclamatory sentences.  They want it all

and I’m thinking, “What drug are we on here?”

Just as Crusher Granorski screams, “Predicate nominatives

are awesome!” the principal walks in

with my check and I say, “That’s okay,    

you can keep it.”  When the bell sounds

they stand, raise lighted matches

and chant, “Adverbs! Adverbs!”

I drive home petting my plan book.

 

At night I check the weather without wishing for a blizzard

then sleep in the sweet maze of dreams

where I see every student from 32 years of school days:

boys and girls, sons and daughters who’re almost mine,

thousands of them stretching like dominoes into the night

and I call the roll and they sing, “We’re all here, Mr. Romond!”

When I pick up my chalk they open their books,

look up and, with eager eyes, ask me to teach them.

 

 

 

First published in The English Journal.           

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A poem for you this Wednesday

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