Ms. Langford


The nose slopes at the tip with betrayal,

brown hair too short for her chubby face.

Staccato cadence in her voice accents

recitation of a poem I don't remember.

Steadfast, self-assured Ms. Langford stares at us

in the first row. Suspicious glances from

her book without pause, she continues reading

with conviction. Her pacing unbroken and not soft

spoken, her question hangs in the air like a dare.

Quietly imprisoned in my desk transfixed

by my ninth grade teacher with no make-up.

Scrubbed clean with purpose no nonsense

Ms. Langford unmoved by fashion and style,

comfortable in her pale skin, light blue dress

and outdated pumps. What poise for an ex-nun!

Was it a lover who led her escape from the convent?

Not Ms. Langford. She is a rebel nonconformist

unyielding woman dedicated to something

I don't understand. Longfellow, Whitman,

and Shakespeare brought her here to a school

of adolescents. Words from dead poets

keep her warm at night.

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