November 5, 2018

that girl

thank goodness for that girl       sitting a few rows back
nodding her head and making eye contact            letting you know

that even an ounce of what you are saying      about the power
of poetry       might be affecting at least one person

in your class      a glimmer of knowing and understanding
that might give her a key      to release her from every cage she’s ever

found herself in      the promise you are making is that
if done right       she too can arrange words to unravel the world

and piece it back together      like notes to her favorite song
or the prayers she’s memorised      and recently unearthed meaning in

without her engagement      the late afternoon gets sucked into a vacuum
of boredom and meaningless blather      teaching is the ability to share

love      oh wait      he gets it too over there in back
slouching      he seems barely awake       but you’ve seen the scribbles

in his notebook      the furrow in his brow      the chips on his shoulders
sometimes they trust      that what you say might lighten their loads

can you ever teach poetry        to someone who has yet to suffer
can any one of us understand a single word            if we don’t first embrace sadness

a few lessons ago      a boy when asked to share a poem
began to read a michael jackson song      heal the world

he first mumbled shyly          inaudibly        before he asked if he could sing
as if you had the authority     over the power of song

on that thursday afternoon      he gathered the courage
to share his truth       the others knew enough

to keep their laughter tethered     in their mouths        and the dream we were conceived in
will reveal a joyful face         and the world we once believed in

will shine again in grace          you’ll share this poem
with them      unsure where you’ll go next

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