Another Teacher Poem by Richaundra Thursday

My friend announces that the ‘martyr teacher’ narrative is harmful,
Contributes to deficit like a war on ideals, idealization losing.
I do not know if this is true.
Like Dido, I have been searching for a pyre, for a sword to fall on,
Perhaps so the gods of guilt will finally take pity.
Certainly it is not the liar hours, the cat burgling expenses,
the papers that follow you home like starving strays.
It is not even the terraforming cartographers who never leave
The satellite but always have new ideas on how to remake
The mountains to their pre drawn specifications, nor
The guardians who consider your words a gospel
Against their personal failures.
I, a rapidly wilting cardboard cutout of a homunculus, barely held together
By scotch tape and an overdeveloped sense of obligation,
Am required to make precisely 1.47 million microdecisions every twelve seconds,
Sometimes as meaningless as a smile, sometimes as life changing as one.
Let this comment go, pick your battle, maybe it makes the next one more meaningful,
Maybe it permits an invasion.
I can’t tell if I choose the right door more often than not
Because most often, the other side is a high budget gothic play, full of mist and fog and trap doors, manned by a drunk stage manager,
it can be hard to know
What will happen and when and what cue triggered it.
Today I opened a treasure box formerly filled with sheer satin promises, now
Occupied by foil wrapped bribes and offered the contents like magic loaves,
Knowing the horde would descend like vultures, like arrows, but that’s fine,
I prefer the shade.
Perhaps this will undermine my tissue thin control the way tide can still
Tug at plexiglass, perhaps it feeds a cycle of entitlement like stained laundry.
Or perhaps these gelatin lies molded like fruits are the closest he’s come
To the real thing in weeks, perhaps she finally remembers I am not her enemy,
Despite every person with my face seeming to tear her down.
When I haul myself, finally to my bed, a map of tomorrow’s worries already carving themselves around my eyes, my soul deep fatigue is nothing that should keep you
From this sacred sacrifice. The phantoms haunting my joints flutter like fractured moths,
Each wingbeat a what if sonata, an if only elegy. Did you know the collective noun
For moths is ‘an eclipse’? Something beautiful yet obscuring,
A darkness made of flight.

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