Spring 1985, Volume 2

Maxine R. Jennings
Lament in Seventh Hour Composition Class

At three o'clock
The moments slow
In a prattle of semantics.
Your eyes lurk
In that deep between words
Like muffled fire.
You question, in trappings of day shine,
This lecture's urgency.

When, you ask, will the promised gleam of triumph
Nullify this waste, this waiting?
And what are the meanings of these platitudes?
And what of those intangibles
That rage on the printed page
Like trifles jangling the eyes in sleep,
What time, a batallion of shadows,
Scurries past our youth?

I know, I know.
Your ears hear music
In fields greening somewhere.
Your thoughts are tethered to the door.
Students, you rail at bleak heaven, unaware
That truth is knuckling me darkly now;
I have not channeled your scattered aims and visions;
I have not reached you.
I have not reached you.

From In Me an Invincible Summer (1984)