You have a lovely face
why not go into modeling? The carbon cycle of his discolored teeth
The pot-bellied teacher didn’t mention: Science, Math, Geography, History
no thought of Lawyer, Doctor, Vet, Geologist
even with her perfect grades in chemistry
the phosphorus green mineral of his insincerity sneered
they had already written her off, mere reducing table gathering radioactivity
relegated her to the salty percent they
dust off their conducting shoulders alongside lint and actual zeros.
If you have to go to University
go to art-school or take General Studies, that might work
their titrated looks of concern, no real effort made
an inner city school with too many (blistering hungry atoms)
kids per exhausted teacher, preferring to throw spit-wads
out dirty glass windows, steaming with acid ionization
than listen to aeration dreams that had already
been deflated (lost allotrope), sold on to the next buyer.
only years later, the lip of prophecy …
when she began a Master of Science, a counselor said;
You won’t be able to do Masters or PhD level work with
your unpolished background (like it was a thing, with life, bubbling, murmuring, powerful)
we will recommend to the department you retake
some undergraduate classes and you should reconsider trying at all.
When she graduated Summa Cum Laude twice
graphite night and fullerene days laboring
instead of speeches, she grabbed her flimsy medal
and showed them the combustion of their ways
hard work can overcome nearly anything (the elementary reaction)
something they should have known and promoted.
Her education has been not giving up when those in the
centrifugation system gave up on her – it’s why she taught for years
adults who hadn’t achieved first time round (but still could)
every time they said she wouldn’t be able to …she did (and then some)
it’s sad when the system fails kids, when the world
is too preoccupied to notice how many are spat out; Spit balls on yellow glass
She’s knows, as as she always knew, first time they told her to give up
what it does to their psyches to be told (enthalpy of fusion)
you’re not good enough, you will fail, you’re unremarkable, mere oxidation
nobody should inflict that.
This poem isn’t applauding educators: It’s asking that they be mindful
hold dreams as dear
as syllables and equations
proton, radicals and quark
as pay-checks and spit-wads
as children with terrors and elemental dreams.