Substitute

 

 

 

I was thirty-two,

between things, and my father

drove me to Kingston High

where I substituted for sixty bucks a day,

sitting alone in the social studies office,

eating my turkey sandwich amid walls of obsolete textbooks,

flipping through centuries of boredom and terror,

collapse and restoration.

 

There in the margin,

beside the eighteenth-century French court,

                               in a girl’s sugary pink script, the word Beautiful—

 

Shadow girl in the noisy tile commons,

jean-squeezed and bra-broached,

taking ten minutes to study

between limp fries and lipstick.

 

You might’ve been tired all morning

when suddenly something said

Here is hardly a choice.  Across the world,

bronze benches beckon thrones

under green canopies. Young men step smart

to your granite curb, and sunshine fills

fabulous rooms, easing across a downy bed

where a silken pillow

holds your lovely head.  

 

 

 

 

                                                                                   Henry Hughes