Our Miss Brooks


Our Miss Brooks goes home at night,
Where the rooms are empty,
The chairs are silent,
There never were any of her own children, and the
Work is never done.

Papers to grade of course and
Dinner to drink. A page of curricular notes for
Admin, required and universally ignored.

This scribbles out on auto-pilot while she
Smashes her mind into silence with
Imbecilic info-tain-news-ish-ment for those
Precious hours before sleep.

For how could she sleep if her mind wasn’t
Numb? What with the national, state, county,
District, city, and neighborhood up in arms
Dictating and decimating her job
Daily it’s a wonder she doesn’t go in
Gibbering with her bra on backwards and
Mismatched shoes.

Our Miss Brooks fights for better pay: something
Commensurate with two degrees, a position of public trust,
Ongoing certification requirements, decades of experience, and
Dozens of fragile lives under her thumb.

At least enough to keep her shit together.

Every time she says so in the lounge,
somebody snorts, “You wish” and stalks out.

She fights. Fights the adults for the kids;
Fights the kids for themselves. They really do need a few skills,
Like it or not.

At home alone, she
Fights herself roiling through
Incomplete housework, distant family, waiting until payday for
Groceries, media vitriol blasting, eight more hours of
Unpaid overtime this week (Idealism went and
Volunteered for the damn committee), and a lurking
Migraine probably triggered by the total weight of her
Social fabric.

Our Miss Brooks goes home at night, but
She doesn’t get her rest.

2 thoughts on “Our Miss Brooks

  1. A valiant call to arms on behalf of our teachers. Either written with great empathy or written by a teacher. I love the inventive use of language and the driving rhythm of the poem as it marches us through her life.
    I enjoyed Our Miss Brooks as a child, where her being alone was played for laughs.

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