Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 20 . . .

The Gift of Numbers

     by Andy Macera

On the first morning you were nervous,

your thoughts spooked, running wild,

trying to calm enthusiasm

by practicing multiplication tricks,

the ones you were anxious,

to teach the students, a magician

pulling surprises from the yellow sleeve

of a pencil, the concepts and patterns

that came so easily to you,

hardwired for math,

as if you had an extra finger

or were double jointed,

a gift you could give

by simply blowing chalk dust

from the palm of your hand,

allowing them to step

through the blackboard

into the wonderful world of numbers

where each student passes,

waving from a dazzling float,

a marching band leading the way,

while you lean from a window

to whistle and applaud. Instead,

you return each afternoon to find

the avenues and boulevards empty,

the classroom lines of lost faces,

galley slaves chained to rowing benches,

listening to their song of struggle

against the horrible beast of confusion

guarding the gate to the garden

of understanding, even though

you hold it open to show the answer,

obvious and clear, begging them to come in,

but they just sit, frustrated and exhausted,

counting on the clock or the calendar,

how long before the period ends,

the days until summer.


Andy Macera is the recipient of awards from Plainsongs, Mad Poets Review, and Philadelphia Poets. His work has also appeared in Pearl, Mudfish, The Chaffin Journal, The Hurricane Review, Ibbetson Street, The Orange Room Review and other journals. He lives in West Chester, PA.


© 2011 Andy Macera