I’m writing a new poem every day for the month of April and posting it on this blog. Please support me by following my blog, liking and sharing, and offering constructive comments. The more people I feel accountable to, the more I’ll feel pressured to keep my resolution. It almost goes without saying, but please keep in mind that all of these poems are first drafts. In fact, I’m writing them mere minutes before posting them. It’s an experiment in bravery. Be gentle with them.
Gloria C. Adams
the students use Spanish
like a volleyball net.
Really, you can only be on one side of it at a time.
the students use language
like a battering ram.
They lift it in groups and try to knock me back
bust me open, tear down my defenses.
In the back of the classroom,
Joy sits, machine gunning
French into a cell phone.
Last week, it was something else,
a language I did not recognize
that carried the lilt of her African origin.
On my first day,
I invited the students to ask me questions.
Every class had one who wanted to know
if I spoke Spanish
so they would know whether they could play
keep away with their intentions,
whether they could yell out in class
and pass off a lie about what they meant.
But Joy asked
how many languages I spoke,
not caring which ones precisely
but rather looking to respect me or to not respect me
based on how agile my tongue was.
When I responded that I spoke some German,
but that my education had focused on the perfection of my English,
Joy made a sound that in any language means
you have not done enough.