Lydia by Craig Evenson

She has carefully washed her face and dressed for the day.

She is attentive while I check her arithmetic for neatly labeled

solutions, probably telling her to show her work because that’s

what I say to everyone.  She has a large python that she

brought to school once.  She stands up straight at the corner

of my desk cleared off for her work.  The rest is covered with

stories read and unread, worksheets, notes from parents

chameleoned in unopened mail from school supply companies.

Even this mess would have to grow to dimensions attributable

solely to mental illness before I’d be able to hide safely inside

from the danger of doing.  Or I would have to shrink.  There is a

good chance I was thinking about dreaming beneath the shell

of the dirty spoon when she took my glasses .I paused while

she cleaned them with a tissue and the stillness swelled,

cracking a brittle fastness, until twin pools of polished air fell

like geese on my eyes.



Craig Evenson is a school teacher. His poems have appeared most recently in such magazines as The Louisville Review, Barrow Street, and West Trade Review. He shares a house with a number of charming creatures.