This is the classroom where I will die.
I will be teaching great literature, or motifs:
the ubi sunt, the carpe diem, the deus ex machina
and I’ll expire, probably of a headache.
The students might look up, at long last,
blinking, and awaken from their months-long
slumber to see the real meat of the matter.
They’ll gather round me in a quiet circle,
faces filled with the wonderment
I sought for so long in vain. Maybe
they’ll hold hands or sing a short song.
No one, though, will ascend his chair to cry
O Captain, My Captain. But I prophesize
they will take out their forbidden iPhones and,
without even snapping one ultimate selfie
with my mortal remains, they’ll place them
in a ring around my body, like Neanderthals
who spread flowers about their dead. This is my final
reward: they will go outside, disencumbered
by technology, and they will explore the fields and
smell the bees and wander like walleyed pike.
They’ll paint portraits of the inhuman and compose
symphonies for the herons. And when at last
the angel is cranked down from a poufy cloud
on creaking cables to heft me to the rafters,
my students will smile and wave and
shout: there go the snows of yesteryear!
My rictus grin will quiver a bit dustily
because at least they got it half right.
Amaya Engleking’s prompt for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: “Back to school” asks us to remember our own school days. I don’t. So instead, here’s a poem about my current school days as a teacher.