On the day I go to school,
I drive past a boy
sitting on a stone,
(overlooking the river of still sand,
his school books piled behind him)
he doesn’t look up, and without seeing his face
I know he is crying.

I don't stop and talk to him,
I know by the way he wipes his face
with the back of his hand, I must leave him.

But I think of him – this tiny moment,
a breath, a pulse.
Of me driving past
not stopping,
and in my mind he is still there,
by the unmoving river
wiping his face,
a glimpse in the corner
of my eye.
And the moment freezes,
a cameo of guilt.


Later –
the rush of students into the classroom,
one says – ‘Do we need our pens?’
Another whispers ‘No, we aren’t doing anything.’
Then the loud voice of the teacher
tells them to get out their books and pens.


As I teach, I start to separate
my thoughts, one then the next,
until each point separates out and out,
noted, noticed,
like the pause between a breath.
Faces intent, lean forward into listening. 

My heart marches around the room,
a mix of the small child
(like the boy by the river)
and the poet standing in front of them.
Our time controlled by the bell
but before it rings
each moment emerges in small spaces;
in words,
in poems.

View this poem on The Disappearing »