In the year I met you – Monica Murasaki

Monica Murasaki is an inked, nerd, artist, teacher in Madison, WI who works in an alternative school with at-risk youth.

In the year I met you

In the year I met you Paola,
silent Spanish girl
thick-tongued, brown skin, black eyes,
I was white-skinned, wide eyed,
stiff with nervousness.

In the year I sat next to you,
neatly printed notes in English you didn’t understand,
like prisoners waiting for the guiotine,
or trees standing still in a misty forest,
my heart cried
out to you… in English…
in Spanish…
I came to you, green as
un-weathered buds on spring saplings.

In the year I met you,
I found my teacher’s stride.
My clicking heels walked echoing hallways
with forcefulness and a cup of coffee.

YOU gave me purpose –
save you,
find you,
teach you,
uncover the lost voice
in your stilled throat.

In the year I met you,
I learned that my efforts make a difference,
Speaking to you every single morning in halting, stilted, stumbling Spanish
for six months,
like a butterfly’s wings create a monsoon wind,
before you turned to me with your reply:
you opened your mouth
pink gums, tongue, and tonsils finally visible for all to see
in front of your 7th grade English class
(the one where you sat by the other Latino kids,
silent and dumb)

A stream, a torrent of wisdom,
A river rushing into cataclysmic

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