Friday, October 28, 2011


"Would you mind listening to my poem," she asked, as if an answer other than yes existed.
Eager to tangle my reality with her mind, I sank my chin into my palm, set my eyes to the little speck hovering in the distance before me, and I curled my right lower lip into its thinking spot, beneath my two front teeth.

She began.

She lit the space between words and thought on fire.

Her language, a branding iron, scarred me with acute profundity.

Wishing to preserve the honor of her ideas, I will not quote them here. Nevertheless, they have been pulsing in my brain since 12:48 p.m., each beat reminding me why I love my job.

For 30 minutes we sat and picked a part ideas--lines of verse twisting paradoxes, churning out the wisdom of letting go in order to embrace something more, and hypothetical characters who seem to be vying for leading roles in the story she currently has baking in her imagination.

While we talked, she scribbled, she pondered, she questioned and she sought to perfect whatever she aimed to create. Brilliant though she is, what most impressed me was the commitment gripping her, a strong hold no amount of homework or social pressure could unwind. Midst an endless pile of other tasks--a choir concert, multiple honors and AP classes and high school life, her commitment to write, and to get it right, blared from the tip of her tongue.

I listened. I questioned. I admired. Doggedly determined to honor the lines tapping at her mind, her passion infected the room with vitality. It seeped from the drop-ceiling and grimy cinder blocks. And drip by drip, it coated me with life.

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