NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, 2017
I’ll spend it sequestered in my classroom
in upstate New York, watching the rain sheet
the asphalt on the street below, holding
the little ladder inside the apple
of a poem my students are climbing,
holding steady whatever equipment
they can carry to trim the branches back
in there. We teachers are supposed to say
keep climbing, rocket higher, clamber up,
knock loose the shale of your misconceptions,
but some days it is hard not to dwell in
the knuckles’ ache of whatever bad news
unfolds and flits and flits from screen to screen.
Some days the smell of chalk dust betrays us.
Some days the scent of lilac spells despair.
Some days, children, I want to build with you
a world less rickety, spinning slower,
jagged and pinkish at the horizon,
ricocheted with uncompromised shining,
an orchard inside a seed the wind clips out
into the heart of the heart of a field,
which is the endless golden field inside
your own wild, shrewd, dubious, strange, greening,
teenage hearts and lungs exhaling amen,
and blessing me now in my middle age.
As gorgeously unseen as the new moon,
we’ll sing from the apple’s interior;
together, children, we will choir these bones.
April 13, 2017