Today's poem is by Mark Jarman
The teacher faces me to write in chalk.
Our faces are the black ones in the room.
The words between us are a kind of talk.
The students hear the shuttle of our thought.
I hold the teacher's questions like a loom,
Where answers may be woven in with chalk.
Back turned to them, their teacher and I talk,
And when she turns back to them faces bloom
With smiles. I hear a smile in her talk.
When my day's done, they'll sponge me pale and dark,
Leaving me blank and ready to resume
Tomorrow with the white speech of the chalk.
The students are too young to call this work.
But what do children this age hear at home?
How does the word black sound in family talk?
In all our faces colors interlock,
White students, black slate, teacher, in a room
That deepens as words cross it drawn by chalk.
We learn to think this way and write and talk.
Copyright © 2017 Mark Jarman All rights reserved
from Mrs. Nelson's Class
World Enough Writers
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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