Beloved Teacher-In memorium

Memorial: Blanche Chaiken

(March 10, 1922 - January 19, 2003)

by Ellen Halter

 

You found me

on the near side of childhood.

Your brow,

arched like a spade,

plunged through topsoil

to the secret garden

of my heart,

trillium running through it.

 

Your retinue

of nine-year olds,

sailed with you

after school,

through the projects,

its mean grid

of concrete and brick,

to the library.

Port of entry,

its bay and lagoon,

underwater dives,

we'd surfaced

late afternoon,

the sun in our eyes.

 

Out-of-focus,

blurred,

memory

I believe.

Ramrod as a mast,

regal as a queen,

you trod abroad,

toeing outward

away from me.

 

You, my dear,

interred,

bones to dust,

I can’t conceive.

Dumb to the love of the child,

deaf to the poet’s pleas,

To please,

please,

heed.

 

You there,

deferred,

a mirage,

I retrieve.

My shoulders squared,

my eyebrows raised,

readied to proceed.