The teacher faces her class, each student a stone in various stages of polish. She is a tumbler of ideas and she hopes they will take the sand and water she holds out to them like the sacred offerings they are. Today, let’s talk about warrants and backing she says and they write those words down. The words themselves are just metaphors and have no meaning other than that which they apply to them. She puts more words on the board that have no meaning until a student raises his hand and stones fall out of his mouth. Rough stones, unpolished, dusty. Some of them roll on the desk, the floor, crush the other students’ hands and feet. The teacher gathers these stones, dusts them off. She tries to apply meaning to them. They are meaningless, but she says How beautiful and puts them in her pocket anyway.
November / December 2022
Issa M. Lewis is the author of Infinite Collisions (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and Anchor (Kelsay Books, 2022). She is the 2013 recipient of the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize and a runner-up for the 2017 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize. Her poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Thimble, North American Review, South Carolina Review, The Banyan Review, and Panoply, amongst others. She currently teaches at Davenport University and serves as an assistant editor for Trio House Press.
Art: Joy. Oil on canvas. T. Aguilera.