BY GARY SOTO
Biology was a set of marble-colored tables
And gas spouts where we bloated up frogs, I thought,
And I thought I had a chance if I bought the book
Early and read it with my lips moving,
Maybe twice, maybe with my roommate half-listening.
I tried chemistry. I tried astronomy,
Which was more like honest-to-goodness math
Than the star of Bethlehem shining down the good news.
I was never good
At science, and so at the beginning of spring
I leaned my boredom on the wood desks
Of piss-ant chairs. But when our biology prof came
Into the classroom wiping his mouth,
When he moved a chair out of the way
And still bumped into it, I knew I had a chance.
He was drunk. His bow tie was a twisted-up
Twig and a nest of hair grew
From each ear. I looked to the skeleton
In the corner and smiled. A breeze stirred
And the bones clacked on
Their strings and wire. With the classroom splayed
With sunlight and hope, the students sighed.
A few pencils rolled to the floor -
An easy grade for all. The prof slurred,
“Man was never created equal.” He fumbled at the
Blackboard as he hunted for chalk. When he turned to us,
Chalk dust clung to his face.
For a moment, I don’t think he knew where he was.
He touched his bow tie. He stuck a finger
Into an ear and repeated, “Man was never created equal,”
Took a step and stumbled into chairs. Right then
I knew I didn’t even have to buy the book.
He was already repeating himself. Right there,
I looked out the window and sucked
In the good air of spring. Trees were wagging blossoms
And the like. One petal would sway,
Then another, sway after slight sway,
A repetition that was endless
And beautiful in the uniquely scientific world.
Thanks to Kelcey Ervick Parker, Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University South Bend and author of the wonderful For Sale by Owner, for today’s poem. Meet Kelcey here…you’ll love her. I do.
[Each Sunday at ProfPost, Liz Tilton offers readers a poem broadly related to teaching and learning. We depend on our readers to bring these poems to our attention...so, please remember that you can always suggest a poem, submit a guest post, raise a topic you'd like to see us address on ProfPost, or ask us questions via email:email@example.com]