Kathy Fagan

These days, just before dawn, I find myself

Asking mom if I can stay home from school.

I teach school now and mom is dead, but

When I was a kid and said I didn’t want to go,

She wouldn’t make me. She’d pass a cool palm

Over my forehead and get on with her day.

Sometimes we’d nap together, but mostly she

Went to her job and I’d be alone all day.

I don’t remember what I did, and she never

Once asked me, never once asked why

I wanted to stay home, and so I didn’t ask

Myself. She must have trusted me, or not

Much cared, which may be trust’s result.

I stayed home because some days it felt

Perilous to be seen, and other days it felt

Perilous not to be, and these mornings it is

So much both that I do not tell my students

Or family because I think they must trust me,

And because I think they don’t much care

Whether I’m alone all day with them or not.


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