The Public School Whose Number Doesn’t Matter
Do you see what I see as a thirty three year old
English teacher, at a public school in the city
Whose number doesn’t matter: aged enough to see beyond
Romance, and young enough to believe in life?
This is the rapture that comes with the certainty
And finality of death, and the knowledge
Of defiant play: HA, I AM ALIVE
In this eternal now, and death itself, shot dead.
This is what the students say with laughter rather than words.
This living moment, of children who do
Not know decay, is taken as ‘given.’
In my classroom as we pontificate
On “Hamlet” and the implications
Of mythic Dionysus, and, yes, Mr. Cruz
The play resembles “Romeo and Juliet”
In that they die for what they believe in.
And in the few idle moments before
The indifferent bell, the group in back with all new labels
Laughs about the kid from class/ gunned down/ deserved it
Know who did/ shut up/ class/ punk ass/ gun you down
They holler again, not knowing that they can’t, like a god
Put themselves back together again.
So, I’ll re-create the story of my student
Who sat in the fourth row, near the wall
And had a laugh that shattered all-space
The ineluctable modality
Of the audible: pre-figuring profound
Metamorphoses in the currents of life
And the facts on the books. I’ll write the
Story of the kid with the big voice
Who didn’t know boundaries, and hopefully
Heard his own expansive voice, or at least felt no pain
As he departed forever into silence.