My students are tapping away at computer keys,
a “workshop” day
which has come to mean the time they use
to write the assignment I asked them to bring to class.

I am so weary right now, and I don’t blame them at all for being off their game.
These past few weeks, sometimes it’s all I can do to show up,
and focus on the task at hand–thinking beyond
an impossibility.

So while they’re writing, I’m writing.

I would never tell them how tired I am,
but I don’t wear it well, so I guess they know.
I’m not a put-on-makeup-to-hide-the-tired kind of woman,
and my pale skin makes it impossible to hide the purple
stains insomnia and stress left under my eyes.

“You’re all going to fail at college” I said to my morning class.
They laughed until my deadpan stare told them
it wasn’t a joke.

For the fifth time I explained due dates
to a class full of texters who weren’t listening.
And I laughed when they had no questions for me
because I know my inbox will be full
of those questions tomorrow.

Teaching has my heart
but damn, my heart is tired.

So I remember the first day back
from Spring break when a student’s
red-tressed head leaned in my door
on a Monday–her class is on Tuesday.
She was just stopping in, to hear about my break.

The students who said they’ll miss me
when they graduate, and mean it.
The ones who don’t say they’ll miss me,
but someday they will.

The first moment a student learns about themselves
from what they write.

I remember all these things, and
I remember that while I may be world-weary
so are they.

So I listen to my students tapping away
doing assignments they were supposed to have
ready for class and

I breathe.

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