Faculty Meeting, March 13, 2020

by J. Margaret Dillon 

Freckled and smiling wide,
you swagger in
(like you do)
As if moments before your entrance
you made a left-handed trash-can basket with a crumpled late slip
or landed a filthy joke somewhere.

You’re late.

You slide sheepishly into the
meaningfully empty chair
beside me
joining the hurried horseshoe
of us and them.

I want to tell you that they think the world is ending.

You flirty-sulk
(like you do)
in your alarmingly white Liverpool stadium jacket
and incandescent pants to match.
You’re like a kid in new costume pajamas: proud
and ready for monkey business.

Your stubborn chest is
stamped with a red cormorant:
The Liver Bird.
But I see the broken cardinal in the snow
lying outside our glass door when I was ten.

You are missing the game for this.
I know.
Still, you’re beaming
twinkling blues
at me.

I shiver.
I left my cardigan upstairs.
My fingertips go white.

I want to tell you that I think the world is ending.

You stretch and yawn, broad and wide;
merciless outlines of deltoids and biceps shift and fade
under your clothes.
You shoulder up to me
(like you do)
transmitting light and heat directly
to my mottled arm.

But it’s not enough today.

I want to fold into you.
I want to tell you to hold on.
I want to tell you once.
I want to tell you forever.

I want to tell you that the world is ending.

J. Margaret Dillon is a Humanities teacher in Annapolis, Maryland, and a former stage actor who sometimes jumps back into the Washington, DC, theater scene. She holds a B.A. in American Literature and an M.F.A. in Theater. She has written very privately most of her life and only recently started sharing her work. This is the first poem she has ever submitted to anything other than her high school literary magazine twenty-nine years ago. It is also her first published poem. K. Nizar, a multi-disciplinary artist from Kerala’s Kozhikode, who began his career on movie-sets doing art works before becoming a visualization artist for a leading newspaper in Kerala.

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