First Day

(the teacher speaks)

Bored with his things, the captain of congeries locked himself in the custodial engineer’s closet and played the broomsticks for hours, only stopping to pick his teeth with a straw. The custodial engineer complained to the dean, who had fallen asleep in the sleek new chair she had fought for to replace the Auden scholar. Reluctant to let the day escape me, I perused my syllabus as though it contained the map of my kingdom, my fortress of nouns, my verbs ready to attack at a moment’s notice, my prepositions stationed like pitchforks, my articles spying out the enemy with their scopes and there in the late afternoon, my conjunctions providing candy bars and M&Ms to replenish our forces. A wind arrived from Kansas knocking leaves down in the corridors. The bull ripped the gutter pipe with his horns. A bird sang about a snake in the ditches of desire.

I entered my classroom, wrestling with indignation. breathing heavily. Parrots blew kisses. Mangoes hung from trees, insisting I watch them ripen. I read the letters printed on their foreheads backwards, “When can we leave?” A noisome odor arose from the pipes. The sleeping dust awoke on a wave of euphoria. Cellphones played “Eleanor Rigby.” I called the roll: four butterflies, half a dozen grasshoppers, two frogs,and dozens of flies. No doubt, some would drop.


Luca Penne
Luca Penne works as a carpenter when he can find work, lives in New Hampshire, and has published his prose poems in various magazines including 2River View, Forge, Heroin Love Songs, Milk, and so on.