In Comparison

midnight wake up call
 evaluation nightmares
 (scores that don’t suit me)
 
 early morning grades
 rush to school to hide from kids
 and try to catch up
 
 small knock at entry:
 “Teacher, may I please enter?”
 (a small scared boy waits)
 
 “Are you new today?”
 and his brother trails behind
 with soft pink gloves on
 
 “From Uganda, yes.”
 my papers sit in piles
 forgotten on desk
 
 i show them downstairs
 where free breakfast awaits them:
 eyes big and grateful
 
 “What brings you here, boys?”
 they exchange frightened glances.
 “For a better life.”
 
 ungraded papers,
 nightmares–they’re all meaningless
 in comparison
 
 at least they are here–
 where with beauty they’ll begin
 the life we all want
 
 

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