Home Is Where We Start From

Three days into spring break, I find myself on a windy hilltop, alone and reading poetry. At my back is the high outer wall of Rodborough Fort, a well-kept castle of indeterminate history or function, not open to the public but apparently available to lease. I text Timmy a picture of the castle and the…

The Civilly Disobedient

Is it ever right–ethically or morally–to break the law? Explain why or why not. -Honors American Literature journal question, Monday It’s always a good day when I get to stand on a chair. I sense that the students understand this, also, even as they mutter about being hustled, a few minutes into class, from their…

Angelina & The Lupine Lady

“That is all very well, little Alice,” said her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do.” “What is that?” asked Alice. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather. “All right,” said Alice. But she did not know what that could be. In the meantime Alice got…

What Mary Knew

It’s Happy Hour. Not the Happy Hour of years past, but Luci and I have developed our own five o’ clock rhythm lately, while Timmy is at basketball practice. Luci sits in her high chair in the kitchen, while I make dinner and serve her bits of small food, a few pieces at a time,…

Then & Now

Then It’s me, three bags and a violin, and climb the three floors to my new apartment downtown at the end of a hot summer day. I’ve taken three trains today, from Austria to my new home in Southwestern Germany. This morning, my new boss told me that I wouldn’t be teaching the classes I’d planned…

Gluten & Gatsby

‘Tis the night before “school Valentine’s Day”–known by everyone else as Friday, or to the superstitious as Friday the 13th–and I’m baking cookies. Everyone, it seems, needs cookies tomorrow. There are some for my sixth period class, a tiny collection of eight students who managed to hold the best debate on whether Gatsby truly loved…

The Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till…

Leaving The Woods

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand… Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden…

The Curriculum of Disappointment

“I wish I had a sister like you.” The line hangs in the air, as the reader pauses in disbelief. Junior jaws drop, a few of them shaking their heads, as if to clear away the last line uttered by Jim O’Connor, gentleman caller and secret high school crush of the hopeful Laura Wingfield in Tennessee…

To The {Book} Fair

…I’m coming to get you, I hissed, as I entered the library like a man stepping into a freight elevator of science and wisdom. “The Literary Life,” Billy Collins It’s a busy Friday night at Black Forest Academy. Upstairs, the junior varsity boys basketball team plays one of their last home games of the season….