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.

4 Replies to “Phosphorus”

  1. Wow, another winner. Brought a tear to my eye, triggered memories of my abusive and neglectful childhood.

Comments are closed.