Teacher's First Day of School

Written by Sarah, from Oregon City, OR
A 2019 Winter Institute participant

Sitting at my desk, I see them.
Girls with deep eyes, lined
craters of need. Boys with
chapped lips and yellow
cigarette smiles.

They swoop through the door, flapping
their hands at friends. Boys with beaks
reddened by sun. Girls with flighty fingers
and shaky laughs.

And then I see you — your hair slipping
out of a sky-high pony, your pinky nail
bleeding from your nervous night spent
worrying about today.

Eventually I’ll know you
-- the dismembered razors,
the fingers to the throat.

But I’ll also know that, to you,
butterflies are amazing, candy is
for breakfast, and Dante should
have a circle in hell for fractions.

Right now though, I’m arrested by
your smile, so wide I notice your
gums fading from red to gray.