I thought I was writing a poem in honor of the teacher who was arrested for speaking during a school board meeting. But, really, I wrote it for the girl who witnessed the teacher removed, accosted, and arrested for exercising her right to speak. What will she remember about that night? How will it shape who she becomes?
The tight-knit circle sits high on the dais and schemes
a fat pay raise for the leader, yarn connecting them green.
Teacher Deyshia stands and pulls at the thread, the knit/purl
pattern unraveling, her clarion call heard the world over.
Teacher of the Year poses a question the greenback circle
doesn’t mention. Thirty-eight thousand more a year, dollars ear-
marked for a magnate with rank-and-file salaries stagnant. Where
is the prize for those who cultivate fertile minds, who face kids
at desks for seven-hour stretches in rural Louisiana school-houses
resembling sewer plants? Brown-haired girl, you sit beside Ms.
Deyshia, your open gaze takes in the strong-arm man who shackles
the teacher and attempts to silence her for speaking what no one else
would: To you, I say, do not dismay. May you grow in strength
and stature. May the teacher bolster your resolve to stand
for truth. May her sacrifice make your world safer. May you tug
at threads of rotten fabric and let it disintegrate into the nothingness
that it is. May your voice roar.