Pedagogy & Scholars

25 Apr

My pupils trip over word traps
they alone set for themselves
with false hopes of impressing me
sprouting trite loquacious syntax.
In other words, they fall “tryna
sound smart.” Still we
work because they are mine.

Like paupers at the wedding brokerage
they know their seat at the banquet table is
often forged with mercy and grace as many
arrive with meager means. They come
with empty gourds hoping to take their
fill and run as far as public education
will take them.

I fight the pedestal erected for me because
I am not a wizard; I have no magic wand.
We toil wherever we find each other and
navigate the labyrinth as best we can. They call
me “school mom,” “Mama C,” and some sadly
just call out “mommy.” One told the principal
she wanted the last name Charles.

This life of mine spans three two-term presidents,
two states, three national tragedies, and thousands
of lives bearing the same thirty faces. Ten of those sleep
in hallowed spaces. Every year I mistake them for three
of my own. Every year I want to take three home but
I settle for school mom instead and give them back.

Every summer their names are all “Sweetie” because
now well above two thousand, my mind can’t bear to hold
each syllable. Not sure if that means much because like cells
their stories attach faces and bond to carved corners in
my heart. Yes, I’ve grown weary as some stars twinkle
and others flicker while some, well they just think they’re dead.

So every August, though I swear I’m spent and done,
I return to the meeting place hoping to find someone ready for a run.

Copyright Asani Charles


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