I’d forgotten
how young I was
when I first started
teaching— most

of the students
either my age, many
even a few years
older. I’d stand

beside the door, arms
folded around books
and a small box of chalk,
waiting for the bell

and for the instructor
inside the room to finish
with his class. I’d step in
at last; on the first

day, there were always
a few who stared with
disbelief, wondering
what I was doing

in front of the room,
setting up for a lesson.
It’s 36 years since
the first day I

stood there: clearing
my throat, then finding
the thread; taking it up,
following it to its source.

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