Stillness / Unrelenting

Angélique Jamail

Maybe the broken window in the short story is a symbol for

          the fractured love between the father and his son,

          or else the inability of the daughter to express her pent-up longing,

          or maybe it’s the mother’s way of refusing to make dinner.

But maybe not — maybe it’s really about

          the dog, who never quite got along with

          the parakeet, who still secretly wishes it was

          a cat.

                     But maybe that’s not it,

                     either, because maybe that broken window

                     means the teacher is getting tired of us and our

                     incessant need to find meaning,

you know, like that Barthelme story she gave us

to read the day Louis and Karen

broke up,

                     splashed their drama loudly

          across the classroom, de-exchanging love tokens

          in fits and hurls before the bell — finally — rang,

and we didn’t know what to say

and so Mrs. Levinson told us to just be


          be still,

                     be quiet,

                                           and we had to read that story

about the school where everything from hamsters to grandparents,

          in a predictable cascade of unrelenting angst,

                     simply, and without regard for our feelings,


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