Tardy slip

Early morning, one foot out the door
And just before we can leave you say Wait.
Who is coming to my classroom to see my work?
All the parents are invited special
It’s after morning assembly

Uneasiness, hesitation
I am due at another place far away
The daily place that keeps me from being a math tutor
Or book reader
Or chaperone for the Wednesday field trip.

I can’t make it today, I say
I’ll see it soon, promise
I just can’t be late this morning, there’s so much to do
Now put on your shoes, it’s time to go

A fallen face
Crossed arms
A refusal to leave

I hold the line
But stand firm with my answer
While inside it gets harder and harder to breathe
With the boulder of guilt rolling so heavy through my lungs.

A somber walk to school
Five minutes late
Salty streaks on your cheeks
Hastily wiped off by sweatshirt sleeves
We have both lost

Alone I return
To the car that will drive me
To the place
Where you are not

Instead, I stop and turn back
Toward the brick building and the late bell
And the other parents checking their phones
Outside the classroom door while they wait

I get there just in time

There are so many things I get wrong
And things I miss
But I hope years from now
In addition to knowing that fact
You remember

That there were also days
When you tipped your head up
And found me looking down over your shoulder
Ready to see all the things you had to show me

March 5, 2012   9 Comments