Listen to “Sturm und Drang”
read by Karen Skolfield
Let’s line a room with cinder blocks, paint them something cheerful and hang up prints of Sicily. Then add: oh. Fluorescent lighting. I wouldn’t notice but the students act as if they were being pressed to death. As if the rest of their lives were cheery and full of volunteer work and perfect omelettes. The baby cries her really pissed-off cry, as if her beachfront property just slid into the sea. When we speak to infants, we don’t use words like hemoglobin, even when the context begs for it. Also no juggernaut, no etcetera. $40.01 at the gas pump instead of an even $40. My niece is sure the world has its thumb on her scale. Who hasn’t had students weep in their office for being 19? We say “there there,” implying there might be a better place to cry. Strangers perfect in their strangeness warn: my toddlers will turn into teenagers. My mother-in-law tells me about Indiana raindrops as if she had bets placed on them. As if she could change what’s blowing our way. If you cut enough words, it’s just a classroom of us with nothing more to say, but oh, how I like to wave that red pen around.