Thursday, March 10, 2016


I see him leaning against the wall
at the end of the hall
from four doors down.
His body language screams.
This is not the sweet, gentle,
trumpet playing guy.
I knew three years ago.
That kid spoke no English.
But he smiled. A lot.
This one does not ever smile.
By the time I can reach him
there is another problem.
The science teacher opens her door.
Tells me that a student feels faint.
Needs my help.
I guide him to a chair.
Get him a drink.
Send my MAD friend
to the office to get the nurse.
There is a flurry of activity.
The nurse. Stethoscope. Blood pressure cuff.
And then we are alone again.
I ask if he is ok.
He does not answer.
And so I venture out onto thin ice.
Tell him I remember him in fifth grade.
The sweet smile.
Laughing eyes.
The trumpet.
I tell him I have heard that his dad is in Mexico.

Ask if he will see him for spring break.
He says no.
I ask if he gets to talk to his dad.
He says they talk every night by phone.
But I bet it's still really hard, I say.
He nods.
And blinks
to rid his eyes
of that shiny
teenage boys'
just before tears look.
I ask if there is anything I can do.
He shakes his head.
I ask I can set him up
with the psychologist.
I am surprised when he says yes.
"I'm so mad," he says.
"My family is always asking me
why I am so mad."
And I don't know
what to do about it.
I open my laptop
And we write an email
requesting help.
because no kid
should have
to feel
that alone.
Sometimes MAD
feels a lot like


Pat Holloway said...

Thank you for being there for him. Often kids at this age need another person to listen and you did!

sroeck said...

UGH! I feel so helpless when I can't help a student who needs the help. I have a student with huge anxiety issues and I really don't know what to do. They don't train you enough in school sometimes.

Unknown said...

Wonderful framework with emotional resonance. You brought him out gently and clearly. I hope that he will be okay.