Today I said goodbye to my students.
It’s always an emotional day for me
because, you see,
I love my students.
They give my days purpose
and keep me up at night thinking
about the world and all that is
right with it.
They inspire tears when I think
about the world and all that is wrong with it.
They break my heart in some of the
best ways I never thought possible.
So saying goodbye to them at semester’s end
always brings a little melancholy.
Of course I’m glad that the semester is done,
glad that I get a break from all the grading.
Glad I get to hit the reset button on all the mistakes
and missteps that I made right along with them.
I’m glad I get to sleep in if I choose, and turn
my attention to writing that I don’t have to comment on.
But I’m also sad.
Sad that I won’t see another essay about favorite
movies or books, I won’t see another paper
with the title “Essay 4.”
Sad that I won’t see another “defiantly” when the student
meant to spell “definitely.” There won’t be another
“should of” instead of “should have” or another wrong use
of there, their, they’re…
Sad that another student won’t tell me how
her paper helped her understand childhood traumas.
Sad that I won’t sit with another student
while she cries because Trump got elected and
her friends don’t care that she and her parents
Sad that another student won’t inspire tears
in me after days of apathy.
Yes, I love my students.
So today, I told them so.
They give me purpose in this
and in this broken world I can
encourage them to be kind and
to go forth and love
I can show them how to be fierce
“You” I said to them. “That’s what you can do,
in this broken, frightened,
fucked up world.
You can love.
And, when need be,
you can kick some ass.”