His was a simple request.
Can you write a poem…right now?
I faltered for a moment.
We had just met, his class before me
a pool of new faces, of challenges.
Why should they trust me?
Instead, I offered to create a poem
I have homework every day.
I would make words tie together
in knots and rhythm to weave
verse as currency to buy attention.
The young man is like so many.
A cloud hides his light, the brightness
shielded from exposure, from ridicule.
I question often.
Why are classrooms full of storms
and flannel gray veils?
Where do brilliance and curiosity reside?
The next day he asks
Miss, did you do your homework?
I give him my blank stare.
My cloud has settled in.
The night before, I was as distracted
as leaves blowing
on a November morning.
I had forgotten.
I was them.
Another day, again he called for my work,
evidence that I, too, pay attention.
It’s only fair.
My requests seem simple enough.
My assumption is bold.
Respect, engage, create.
I face the clouds, the gray pall hovering
over the throngs of faces behind those desks.
I pray to bring sun to a dull day.