Kathy Fagan

You know how it is with technology:

you pull what you thought you wanted

to print from the tray, a stack of somebody’s

poems for your morning class,

& because you’re in a hurry you toss

them in your backpack — like the napkins,

straws & condiments you’d bag

for customers at the drive-through — knowing

how quaint the students will find handouts

of a poem they’d gladly read

on their phones, & because you reached humiliation

saturation level years ago, but far too late

to remember being ashamed by nothing,

you laugh — oh madcap, oh aging, oh absent-minded

Professor Me! — when they see, as you pass

them out, that each sheet has printed

a thumbnail portrait of you in the left corner

followed, two inches down, by

a tree


which of course is not the poem you’d wished for

them to have, & when, after the half-

hearted laughter dies down, you take

out your phone & they take out theirs

& you read the poem out loud

from the tiny screen (you would have said

aloud, back when you worked drive-through,

though you did not think yourself a snob),

your hand held far in front so you can see,

you feel the poem give, give

utterly; you feel the poem

taken & received, a light in every face.


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