The Reel

Then he put down the lesson plan
Shook the shock from his hair
Wiped the dust from the chalkboard.

Slats of wood ran against his back
Flesh poking through the spaces in between
A memory of metal,
That old bright linoleum
Rounded heads of nails and sneaking fingers underneath

He thought, Maybe today I’ll be a fisherman, I’ll catch something sharp and alive.
Keep it steady while it writhes
Like dissecting each objection from young mouths,
Young hands in the air.

But there is no water here
Just paper and dry land
Ink-stained lips and gawping mouths
The ridges of fingers and sneaking dust underneath

He sighed an earthquake then,
And the letters of the alphabet fell into place.
Split open the ground
And rows of desks violently aligned.
The apple in his desk lay rotting, rotting
That old bright appreciation

Before the bell rang he opened the window
Drew the blind an inch or so
Young feet come marching, he put one trembling hand on the windowsill
Hoping for a flood.