The poem we are studying (floored by) has a moment that goes like this: Because every breath I give brings me a second closer to the day that my mother may die/Because every breath I take, takes me a second further from the moment she caught my father’s eye. We gasp for air. Shake our heads, smile unbelievably square smiles. Sometimes the words we study catapult us into feeling overwhelming truths and our bodies are reduced (or enhanced) to Stone Ages.

And in all the lemon yellow glory of getting melodramatic, let me bring this sentiment right back to the doormat of my own thoughts of dread, pending loss, and sweet sorrow: with every class over, I am seeing that damn horizon, the one that presents some variation of a door I need to step through to enter the newest chapter of my life/ leave these magnificent men student/scholars behind.

Okay, a shishkobob just appeared in my mind’s eye. On it, besides some pineapple and other veggies I can’t identify, is a rat, a crispy fur singed rat who has died in some spread armed gesture. Okay, I guess I am pushing myself to get more melodramatic here: if I were to die, let it be with my arms open in the glory of teaching my students. If my body froze itself in that position upon death, burning and dying a minuscule unappreciated rat life, teaching inmates [your word, not mine]…. the 360 degrees of it all would be as transparent, smooth and graspable as a hamster ball. My students are laughing at this. This is all we needed anyway.

Rat race. Hamster wheel. Instead of a new chapter, I’d prefer to keep spinning proudly, right here in the midst of semester. Those are some damn good students. My hope for them, and my bottom line belief in their talent will always spin.

I’ll miss them already.

-S.Siobha, Teacher