Work Week, Teacher – Poem by KB Ballentine

Alarm bleeps though it’s still dark
outside the windows. Even the street
lamp has gone to bed.
But I sigh and rise, slip my feet
into Monday’s socks —
August’s dusky room cool.

By Tuesday I manage to find the snooze,

snuggle in for ten minutes more before I go
the next round with work —
a hundred and fifty teenagers aching
for father’s faithfulness, mother’s love.

The groove is smoother by Wednesday —
honed to practice like my smile.
New wounds less raw, old scars fading,
each chaos–ed life adjusted to rows
as straight as blades.

Thursdays we can harmonize again, tongues
finally free to scatter blessings, even curses —
a melody masking the syncopated beat
of grim rhythms thudding under the skin.

This fifth day wild, like parrots in the jungle
cawing for all they’re worth —
Friday flashes bright feathers, beaks stabbing,
grasping, caressing.

It takes all Saturday to disgorge the bleak
ingredients. I dust and vacuum detritus, iron wrinkles
until shirts are stiff, collars and cuffs pristine.
A long, hot soak, tossing in chamomile,
lighting incense until my mind is clear.

And Sunday dawns — wrens psalming day
until the sun crests overhead and shadows
sneak over the lawn — roses robbed of red,
hydrangea blue swallowing the porch light
as it dims, brightens, dims.

KB Ballentine

KB Ballentine's work appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI:Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). Her third collection, What Comes of Waiting, won the 2013 Blue Light Press Book Award.

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