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I'm avoiding grading papers / May is always so hard

by Devon E Mattys

“I can get myself through this,”
I say,
my lip
only quavering
a little.
I do not call my parents.

The song I’ve been composing on
piano
does not
distract my thoughts
enough:
it’s about a love who died.

The catnap and aspirin that I took
when I got home
have done
nothing for my
headache.
The pressure only grows.

The Internet is out again.
My key didn’t work on the door when I got home.
I’m avoiding grading papers.
My colleague’s ignorant words
dance in the recesses of my recent memory,
finding a cozy home there in the fertile pit
hollowed out by insecurity.

“I miss him,” I want to tell someone.
“I loved him.”

“May is always so hard,” I want to say.

My tea is getting cold.
Three weeks of papers lie in the other room,
neatly stacked on the table
that my father delivered—
unbidden—last weekend.
I sorted them on Monday.

I’ve pulled out my phone three times,
poised to call
my parents
just to hear a friendly
voice,
since the piano didn’t help.

But my mother doesn’t like it
when I’m
melancholy,
wallowing in memories
of loss.
So instead I turn to poetry.

I wasn’t missing him before I sat at the
piano.
I didn’t have a headache until
the Internet was gone—
no, before that:
until I was locked out—
no, before that:
until that cow first opened her mouth.

May is always so hard.
My headache feels perpetual.
And I’m avoiding grading papers.

05/06/2015

Posted on 05/11/2015
Copyright © 2021 Devon E Mattys

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/11/15 at 04:15 AM

Interesting, entertaining look at everyday life (at least in May) for a teacher with the usual (mother) and modern (internet) distractions. PS: I also enjoyed your bio...I've composed a lot of bad poems in my 42 years of writing, but don't show them, however I agree, they make good practice for the good ones. :)

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