Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Students' Wheelbarrows by Tyler Sheldon

          after B.C. and W.C.W.

One by one they trickle to their seats.
They expect another day of scribbling
in their notebooks what they’re only
pretending to think, but I tell them,
it is finally time to have our talk
about poetry.

I tell them, look here at how Williams breaks
his lines, so unlike Shakespeare, and one,
her hand above the sea of heads, says
they’re wheelbarrows. You can lift
these lines and even pivot, if you wish.
She drops her hand and just like that the silence

Another stands to speak: white, he says,
means purity. For the rest, so much depends
upon these words. All they want to do
is tie chickens to that color
so they won’t escape.

When they finally trickle out, talk shifts
back to other things. A few leave
with pens in hand. I turn off the lights.
Beyond our classroom, the trees
are glazed with rain.

Tyler Sheldon is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and MFA candidate at McNeese State University. His work has appeared throughout the US and Canada, such as in Quiddity International Literary Journal, The Dos Passos Review, The Prairie Journal, and others. His chapbooks include First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016), and Traumas, forthcoming from Yellow Flag Press.

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