August Cleaning

English teachers need big ring binders, REALLY big ring binders. White one for all the Tempest stuff, blue one for Midsummer Night’s Dream. One for the notes from the workshops the principal sends you to and one for the new lessons you’re building. Another for the really strange poems I get them to write (while protesting loudly) in the middle of the year. The beat-up binders I’m putting in a bag to give away won’t be taken by students–they’re too fancy. They’ll be taken by English or Social Studies teachers who give a lot of handouts or collect a lot of written work. One really old blue canvas binder I’m keeping so I can remember I was a teenager once although I’d like to pretend that I ALWAYS knew everything.

And then there is that bowl of shiny rocks I cleaned out. Over the dusty, furry, cramped winter, they were invaded by average-looking marbles with a twist of their own sense of preciousness inside, squashed glass bits that belong between the stems of fresh flowers in a clear vase, and a couple of mysterious little white corkscrew seashells–no one went to the beach! I segregated the interlopers and washed the colored stones. They are drying on a plate in the kitchen like privileged vacationers on the deck of a ship. My eyes are full of sweat.