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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

SLICE OF LIFE



Two o'clock
any afternoon
27 seventh graders
lost at least for the most part
in their books
And me
leaning against the door jamb
fake reading
the Chris Crutcher ARC
I scored last week at ALA
but really a million miles away
in hell's darkest circle
wondering

whether I could really keep
these dear ones

safe

I imagine the front doors
Our building is locked all the time
no one enters
unless the secretaries
buzz them in
and the district put new locks
on the inside doors
about ten days ago
but those wooden doors
with the beautiful grain
that's been oiled
for almost one hundred years
would that old wood hold
if someone really wanted in

and what about the glass window
two foot by three foot
it makes me more than
a little claustrophobic
to think about solid doors
but now I worry
that we don't have them
wonder if I should
talk to my principal
or write to the school board
requesting something
without glass

I scan the classroom
it's almost a perfect square
there are no closets
or nooks
or supply cabinets
where anyone
could seek shelter

My eyes stop finally
on that one tiny corner
the only corner
that could work
as a hiding place
and I wonder whether
we could all fit
Should I bring back the teacher desk
we hauled out last September
could we use it as
as a barricade
if we had to?

I think about other options
the teacher whose husband
is buying her a rope ladder
and a mallet
so she could break out a window
and she and her students could
climb to safety
if she needed to
where could I get those things?
would it be safer to climb out the window?
what if the shooter saw us?
and then I think of
another teacher
who will send her students
into a supply cabinet
that only locks from the outside
then she will slide the key
under the door
and she will face down evil
but her students can be safe.
Would I be that brave?

Two o'clock
any afternoon
and my mind is far away…

6 comments:

Christie Wyman said...

I, too, find myself running through all the scenarios and possibilities. I look at each space we visit throughout a week through new eyes wondering what I would do. I just want to teach, but....

elsie said...

It is not right that this is foremost in teachers' minds. I don't have the answer, but surely someone will and we will be able to change the worries that teachers have.

Darcy Anne said...

This is such a strong post. I think these thoughts are running through all of our heads these weeks and you expressed our pain and fear perfectly.

Linda B said...

It makes me very sad to read your post, Carol, but thank you for writing it. I hope we can all fight for better, for students, teachers, for everyone!

Stacey said...

Good G-d, Carol. I wish you didn't have to think like this. Alas, we were all thinking like this even before Parkland. It's worse now, of course. Whenever I go into a new school building, I have to check for the exits. After all, I'm transient so I don't have a home base with procedures and exits I truly know.

I truly hope these brave young people will change the world. I feel it happening this time.

Judy Imamudeen said...

Oh my heart! Thanks so much for sharing this. I could absolutely relate to that terrible feeling of What If and Where to Hide?