The English Patients
Demetria slinks down in the back row
trying to hide her texting, a major taboo
in my class. Kendra’s swelling stomach
an obstacle to comfort, gingerly wedges
herself into a small desk. Derek has been
banished from Martha’s Vineyard and sent
to the Bible Belt to reform his rebellious
ways. Thespian Vanessa tosses back her
long blond locks into the face of Charlie,
who aches for boldness to speak to her.
Grandmother Brenda, in a Napa Auto Parts
shirt, attends class during her lunch break;
grease-stained fingers streak her paper
with dark marks which will blend with the red
ones I will soon add. Eighteen-year-old
Lori wears spit-up on her corduroy jumper
and tucks baby Tyler’s teething ring and
animal crackers into her backpack, which
doubles as a diaper bag. Jeff, a Southern
charmer, sports a silver ring in his devilish
tongue and colorful boxer shorts which peek
from the waistband of his wide-leg jeans.
Andy’s essay reveals fantasies about girlfriend
Pamela and prowess on the basketball court.
I ready my instruments before beginning
my invasive procedure, a weekend ritual.