For Deepa

Today was our last day, our last day when I was your teacher and your last day as my student.

I know that in your senior year, I might have a chance to work with you again, depending on what I am teaching and what you class you will be taking.

The game of chance is not a game I play very well.  I try to stack the deck and end up picking all the wrong cards.

Today, you asked me if I was going to continue writing….

And I felt my syllabic floor fall away, fall into place, the silent maw I have stood over clap shut and I just wanted to…..

I just wanted to stop time, grab the hands and hold them fast against my heart and relearn the meaning of nothing and everything and something in between.

I have let various and sundry toxins creep under my emotional skin and stymie me, put gags in my mouth and let the words soak into the fibers because speaking was scarier than living.

I’m fine….I’m just metaphoring…that’s all….

You wept.  My silent girl who sits in her seat and works as hard as she can and then works more.  You wept and I broke a little.

I broke a lot.

The shadows of these last eight weeks kept me hidden in the depths of my koi pond, far away from where the people stood on the edges and pointed down at my golden brethren.  I am the catfish, the bottom-feeder, the ugly and gloomy puckerer lurking at the bottom, staring upwards at the light with my jiggly unfocused eyes.

And today, I stretched my back and breathed.  I wrapped student after student in my arms and breathed because I had done it.  I had come through another year, a year of questioning and doubting and wondering and…..I succeeded.

My footsteps are marred with my bloody question marks.  But laced over them are the frail webbings of hastily created bandages that I scrubbed into each toe print, each sunken point where the ball of my foot collapsed the mud beneath.

Emma’s letter.  My darling wonderful Emma Mazing.

Krystina’s letter.

The cards.

The gifts.

The hugs every morning which collapse my frustrations into tiny origami cranes that bear my hopes, solidify my dreams that “this too shall pass.”

The pictures of me and my students and my world in beautiful point and counterpoint.

Why do I doubt God’s will so much when it’s clear that He put me where I belong?

Today, I hosted two video conferences with my dear, dear friend Bob who writes poetry that seeps into my conscious long after I have finished reading it.  Today, I listened to his voice read lullabies about life and death and the reconciliation between the two and I stopped worrying about pronouncing the names right at graduation and just…lived.

Those names shall pass.

The students will hover before me for a moment and then walk those quick six steps before bridging past my line of vision.  They shall move into the world.

Robbie, Emma, Marqui, Rebecca, Hilmara, Rachel, Michelle, Len, Olivia, Nick

Deepa, you wept and I held you for a moment while you cried and forced myself not to cry as well because I want to be the strong one.  I want to be the one who will be your brace during those long days when the world tries to shatter you and you forget to look in the invincible mirror that contains your invincible reflection of your invincible self.  You are so much more than however you have defined yourself and you are so much more than how the world might try to define you.

I see you, oh quiet one.  I see you curled over the poetry as your draw your pen in fine lines from word to word and tease out meaning that you find and you validate and you create.

I see you in your words, in the heavy burden you shoulder and in the way you toss aside my possible worries because you want to be the strong one.

I see you, little one, great one, strong one, one who can change the world.

I see you, and I am moved.

Thank you for waking me up. 

One thought on “For Deepa

  1. thank you for writing this. i still come back to read it on occasion. love you and miss you ❤

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