start off with
the only thing more awkward than a classroom full of middle schoolers
is a classroom full of their parents.
under squashed desks
anxious feelings of their own,
ancient and sometimes tragic inadequacies clashing
with the hopeful success and aspirations of their goofy, lanky, gawkish kids.
back to school.
meet the teacher.
who stands before us and says his oldest–a preschooler–started school today, too.
this teacher-parent says,
he knows how we must feel.
does it ever get better?
do the tears ever separate from the release?
and I shake my head.
the release never gets better.
never an ease about letting a child go.
no matter how big and brawny
solid and sure
all that love
and reddened droplets of fervent prayers
may grow lonely
or transform into
the springtime of another generation
but never released
from the prayers of those from whom they turn.
“Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”