After Sending Senior Girls to The Principal

 

 

By 20 minutes in, I’ve asked two girls to go. 

A third erupts.  I say nothing.  She is gone.

Seamless anger is how they leave.

Our class is quiet now.  Order’s price

is weighed in thoughts.  Is there remorse? 

Critique of me?

 

At lunch, I pull aside the one I love the most. 

I ask her of regret.  She says her choice was sound. 

It was your mood, she tells me. I had to go.

I ask her if she’d like to know about my mood,

what made it, how it felt.  Reluctance

says sure.  I tell her

 

how it feels to know that

I will soon let her into a world

callous and sharp without traction. 

I’m scared that she doesn’t write

well enough, doesn’t know her tone,

doesn’t yet love herself. 

I don’t say how much I’ll miss her.

 

We’re in the small room with the plastic spoons

and the microwaves.  Kids come and go. 

My face finds its ridges.  My eyes draw

tight and I could weep or could stop myself.

 

She cries with me, salty rolling globes.

Kids heat their meals, gather utensils,

hardly notice. We’re so quiet, standing here,

looking at each other, knowing

that this how we teach and how we learn.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                              Aaron Schildkrout