Today's poem is by Jeanne Murray Walker

If Found, Drop In Any Mail Box. Owner Will Pay Postage

I'm grading papers in the motel room,
the teacher in me watching as my students
fumble with their keys in the lock of the world.

I crack down on the one who misspells
the minuet amount of imagination a person needs
to live well. And I give a C to the one I suspect

of telling me whatever I want: that summer is a newspaper
printed with no alphabet but pleasure. But I confess,
I feel a twinge for the one who postures,

as if he can't imagine anyone loving him for himself.
And I admit, I cheat on the good side to help the one
who writes that he and his girl are one cell,

sliced apart by the scalpel of her parents.
When I get to the one who says
that he's a lonely space ship flying between stars,

I put my red pen down. I could go under the knife
with him, I think, knowing that I won't.
But let's say this. It surprises me to find out I love them.

I'd like to tell someone, the woman in the next room, maybe,
like to spread this sweetness, to bring about some
minor good. Can I offer you this pale translation

of my students' essays? Nothing special.
The sound of their keys turning in the lock of the world.
I drop it as I close the door, in case you need it.

Copyright © 2005 Jeanne Murray Walker All rights reserved
from One Trick Pony
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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