When you wrote their instead of they’re
and were late to my class four days
in a row, when you took the bathroom pass
and didn’t return for twenty minutes,
when you refused to take the ear buds out,
bringing class to a halt, and turned in
a terrible essay, mindless crap,
five weeks late, when you plagiarized,
cheated on the vocab quiz, had sex
in the restroom stall at Prom and stopped
when I pounded on the door, when I had to
ask you three times to take your hoodie off,
never did the assigned readings,
kept whispering and giggling instead of
working on the Thanksgiving poem
I wanted you to write, when you had
Bic lighters in your backpack, an ounce
of pot and a beautiful glass pipe
which I confiscated and took home
(on my bookshelf now), when you
punched that guy who called your girl a ho
on Facebook, when I had to ask you
to leave the room, wouldn’t take your head
off your desk, when I found you wandering
the campus and you told me your cousin
had been shot, when you took a shit
on the restroom floor, when you left garbage
on the table, smoked in the parking lot,
gave that boy a blowjob in the stairwell,
were absent for your group presentation,
when your dad left, when your mom passed out,
when you couldn’t care less
about anything I taught,
I should have been more kind.


Brad Shurmantine lives in Napa, Ca. “I am a retired educator who spends time reading way too much Twitter, tending my three gardens (vegetable, Japanese, water), keeping bees, practicing Aikido (Sandan) and piano (rank beginner), and taking care of my chickens, ducks, and cats. I backpack in the Sierras and travel when I can, and have a serious passion for George Eliot, a great writer who does not get nearly the attention she deserves.”

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine. He’s been busy lately.