For twenty-eight years he wore black
on Friday’s to announce without a word
that there would be a quiz. He taught two
of my least favorite high school subjects,
but I thought he was worth heavy accolade
anyway, if not for anything more than
committing himself to a career of boring
high school subjects. He was unwavering,
unforgiving in his demands that his students
show up to learn, although sometimes they barely
gave him enough respect to let him teach.
I grew up awed by his power he wielded so
quietly in the way he carried himself – above
the cesspool he lifeguarded. I heralded him
as the conquering hero, never asking him
if he wished he’d made something else of himself.