Discipline

June 1953, the second-floor classroom
is motionless in the heat. Miss Johnson balances
the long white wooden pole above us.

The muscles of her short thick arms
are knotted; moisture thickens on her upper lip.

She hooks the pole end in the metal groove
and pulls the top sash down.
                                                And then
a black bird in the white-hot room.

Miss Johnson’s obedient children,
the twenty-six of us sit—quiet, waiting—

one with this sudden wild idea, its dark
wings beating against the plaster walls
and high white ceiling, frantic to get out.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Prick of the Spindle.

Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut, for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication. His poems have subsequently appeared in Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Red Wheelbarrow, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, and many other literary journals.

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