A Teachable Moment

That Autumn we covered miles together
crossing invisible lines in the dark
between New Mexico and Texas
Mississippi and Tennessee.

You taught me things
I should have learned long ago
but never did.
A truer version of America’s Evolution
filled with exploitation
revolution
and pain.
Finally
making History
something I could relate to.

In exchange for these lessons,
I stayed late.
Much longer than I should have.
To pound the dusty erasers
wipe her name from the blackboard
and sharpen pencils
(each day aiming for perfection
but putting too fine a point on them
every time).

Then without warning
you confiscated my laugh,
keeping it locked
in your bottom desk drawer
until well after Winter and Spring had passed.

By the time I was dismissed
I’d forgotten all about it.
You were just gone
and it was just there
sitting in my chair
stiff from disuse.

So I took it home
and practiced all Summer
until it was better than before.

Next Fall
I hope
things will be different.