Landscape with Wild Dogs
Five minutes. Going to be late. Must rush from my office on the farthest end of the upper school building to the middle school to teach a class. Can’t forget my laptop, my copy of Night, their grammar books. A pen. Luckily, few are in the hallway now – the mismatched schedules are actually good for something. Scurry around the corners of these zig-zag hallways. Note the time on the digital wall clocks. Three minutes. Pass the main office. She heads my way looking confused, puzzled, and when she stops me to ask why I’m not at the conference, I panic. Have I missed an informing session? A meeting with a student? A parent conference?
“Why aren’t you at PoCC?” I guess she thinks all the brown folks in the building should be away at the diversity conference. Like we all shoulda packed up our shit in unison, trudged single file from the school building into an unmarked van, carried the baggage. Like we roam in packs, wild dogs primed to devastate the innocent. But I am here in my college sweatshirt and joggers, the laces on one sneaker untied, just trying to get to the middle school building to teach my 8th grade English class. And now I’m late. She waits for my reply, but I have already swallowed, “Why, because I’m black?” and the words churn in my stomach like rocks in a tumbler. I have to teach that class.
Later, because today for some reason I won’t let it go, I message her to tell her that I can choose which conferences I attend just like she can choose which conferences she attends. She throws me a bone, replies, “No worries,” like I’m the one who has something to be sorry for.
Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey. She is the EIC of Kissing Dynamite: A Journal of Poetry and assistant editor at Human/Kind Journal. Christine has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her work appears in Modern Haiku, Glass, Room, and The Rumpus among others. She can be found at www.christinetayloronline.com
(Next: Vagabond Mannequin by K.B. Carle)
(Previous: some kind of codependency by Quinn Lui)
Feel like submitting? Check out our submission guidelines
Image: Mike Prince CC2.0