The Teacher

Still, still, still, the raven
flies up. His fingered
wings wagging as Mr. Foley's fingers
wag at the children. And he old in his teeth.
And he old in his knees. And knowing little
and helping no one. Only his fingers
wagging like a curtain going up
and a curtain going down.


In the low field
the cow with no hair on her knees
walks backwards under the locust tree. And the boy
Mr. Foley pointed at with his many fingers
waits for her. Stands in the flop
and waits, his hands full of powder
to free her of flies.


Mr. Foley killed this boy.
Or was it the bird? Or was Mr. Foley
the bird? The bird who broke
the boy's knees? The boy
wept in his hair. In his arm.
So ashamed, so lonely, without water or clothes.


Still, still, still, the willow
says forgive. The boy
may be planted in the field. Perhaps
he will grow like a fence or a tree
and the tent worms will build him their nests--
string their white wings
from his heart, from his heels,
and he will be halfway
to heaven and up.