Wednesday, 28 October 2020

You Became a Teacher

Maybe because you remember fifteen with its bullfighter bravado

to cloak your pimpled insecurity, the fear you’d run afoul of the popular,

they who could black out the electrical grid of your social life.


Future you would offer a bracing smile, wisdom on a whiteboard,

be a beacon to foundering teens. Your campaign to reach the classroom

went undeterred by tales of toughs huffing glue in the stalls,


a Smith & Wesson triggered by a twelve-year old on a playground

in Toledo, a school room in Yonkers where a student sneaked behind

and shattered a teacher’s skull with a ball peen hammer.


Then today while California’s sky blazed orange, the chief executive

called for a thorough raking of the forest floor. Today the border patrol

divided and caged a family so Americans could be safe from refugees.


Today law enforcement shot to death an American citizen

in her home, in his car, on the street because we are a nation of law and order.

Isn’t order putting all things in their proper place?


Today the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court justice in an election year

which they would never, never do because The People must have their say

unless power may be gained by ignoring the people.


Today the high court ended the census early because all the persons

must have been counted by now and because data must be delivered

to the executive in time that he may discount undesirable persons.


Today you look at the faces before you, eyes bright above their masks,

eyes glowing in Zoom windows, faces of people here not to save us

nor to be led but who just want to learn to live together in this world


and you want to say, well, welcome aboard. This is the job.




© Robert Darken

What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in 2020 America

Robert Darken is originally from the American Midwest. He now resides in Connecticut, where he teaches high-school English. His work has appeared in One Art and Red Eft Review.