Life after School
The kid has AIDS, and I'm supposed to teach him?
He never gets assignments in on time.
He often misses class. I know he's ill,
but not from him. I'm not supposed to know it.
He sometimes looks befuddled, but he's smart.
And when he talks, he talks. The whole class listens.
And he is very sweet, and very gentle.
But sometimes, god, he looks and sounds just awful.
Last week we had a writer in to class.
He went around the room, asking them questions.
"So, Mack, what is it you are going to do
after you’re finished here?" And Mack just smiled.
He has this kind of beatific smile.
He said, "I'm going to be an engineer."
Bruce Bennett is the author of nine books of poetry and more
than twenty poetry chapbooks. His poems have appeared recently, or are
forthcoming, in Ploughshares, 5 AM, Tar River Poetry, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and The Healing Muse. His
most recent chapbook, a sonnet sequence entitled A Girl Like You, has just been published by Finishing Line Press.
Bruce Bennett teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College, where
he is Professor and Chair of English and Director of Creative Writing.