April 19, 2011 “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” Rita Dove
The Teacher Should Know Better
In the afternoon, a contest. The class begins.
She doesn’t know not everybody wins!
A single boy leans back in his chair,
All his classmates swirling everywhere.
He tastes nothing; his mouth is dry.
It isn’t the time to let out a cry.
It would be easier to exit the room,
to amble down the hall, humming a tune.
But instead he stays, pretends to read,
wishing just one someone would notice his need.
The teacher calls again, for all to hurry;
both boys and girls respond and scurry.
The boy sits idly, watching above his book;
his eyes squint at other boys—darting looks.
Gazes do not stop at him, but instead fade
across the room to be sure another pair is made.
Why doesn’t the teacher understand her task
well enough to complete the proper math?
Is twenty-one, one too many, or one too few?
In this boy’s eyes, neither will ever do.