Why I Bother




          They come to class on conveyor belts.

          Girls’ hair is long and mostly blond

          except around the roots.

          Teeth testify to thousands

          spent on orthodontia.

          Ears are poly-perforate –

          girls on both sides; boys, just one –

          deaf to my cajolery,

          coaxing, threats, wheedling.


          Their minds are condominiums.

          Danish modern furniture,

          plastic flowers pre-arranged,

          wall –size plasma video.

          They ride in pre-fab attitudes—

          instinctively conform.


          But one there in the last row,

          head down upon the desk,

          paints opalescent fantasies

          and writes symphonic prose;

          scrawls sonnets across Scantron cards

          that baffle and astound

          and make it all worth while.





                                                                    Kerry Michael Wood