Oh November,

oh week after the rather disastrous
midterms that didn’t get cancelled
despite the hurricane school closings;
oh agonizing stretch before the next
holiday break, what will I do with you
and with the two who plagiarized
their essays despite submitting them
on SafeAssign? Tonight has been
particularly trying. Only the same
four or five students with any energy
to recite; meanwhile, the rest sit silent,
some sullen, indifferent, slunk low
in their chairs at the end of a long day.
And I’m their last stop, last three-hour,
once-a-week literature requirement put off
for too long, and now it is the final
semester before graduation…
Narrative arc, verisimilitude, conflict
and epiphany are the farthest things
from their minds; but I press on
into the winding corridors of story,
feeling like a guide who’s lost
her troupe somewhere near the cafe
or water fountain or the gift shop
(for sure the gift shop): that too
has been foreshadowed. Once in a rare
while, it almost seems that a word
I’ve uttered has somehow pierced
the veil; as if a small domestic
animal has burrowed close then
suddenly nipped the tender flesh—
and then it is as if a brace of wind
has flung open a window and we
can see the coming snow, sped
by wind, above the trees.


In response to small stone (176).

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