brook house 3

By Marco A. Vasquez

It’s on those days when, obviously, nobody is paying
attention except to their mechanical pencils and the drama
that started during lunch, and then the yawning starts,
and everybody is looking at the clock, and as I wander
the class tapping on the corners of desks to wake them up,
and I get a whiff of that seventh-grade stink that I have
been smelling since they ran the mile on that especially hot
Friday, and I hear the zippers of backpacks whizzing mid-
discussion, fifteen minutes before the bell even rings,
and when it does, everybody shuffles out without so much as a
“Have a nice day, Mister,”

and I’m as relieved as them that the day is over, and with sunken
eyes, as I’m locking my door, I realize that it is only Tuesday,
and that I have to walk down to a meeting that could have easily
been replaced with an email, and I just know that that fucking teacher
is going to ask a million questions all of which had already been answered–
it is on those days that I wonder, “How many sick days can I take
if I throw myself down the stairs?”

But, then there are those other days, when everything seems
to be going right, and the way I explained things seems
to have gotten through to most of them, and they are nodding
in agreement, and even adding to the discussion something
that actually has something to do with what is being discussed,
and they’re asking relevant questions, and I’m answering them
with answers that make things make sense, but they can’t
quite articulate this because it isn’t often that it all makes sense to them–
it’s on those days that I realize why I’m there with these
English language learning, immigrant parented, low-income house-hold
children who are everything that I ever was.

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