I Thought about My Two Students | Nancy Byrne Iannucci

©2022 Çağın Kargi
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I took the same path in the morning—
woke up to find my cat lying in sunbeams,
got dressed, had breakfast, prepped 
before my nine o’clock class, 

then I heard the chainsaw, 
cutting through Thursday’s route 
sending ice floating in lily pads
down Poestenkill Creek. 

I could see it all from my window 
driving to work, 
listening to bombs on the radio,
 “listening to bombs on the radio,”

echoing old sounds of the twentieth century. 
I put on Stand or Fall by The Fixx 
and thought, “how the hell 
can I continue my classes 

on the Protestant Reformation?”  
My plan was to have them assess Cranach,
 Law and Gospel and Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.
 How can I go through with this now?  

Crying parents tell their children
 if you survive don't do as we did.
 I thought about my two students 
from Lithuania and Ukraine, 

Ugne and Yaryna, 
roaming this quiet N.Y, boarding school
like Stoics, consumed by Putin 
and the safety of their families back home. 

I decided to keep Luther’s 95 Theses
nailed to the Wittenberg church door.  
Impromptu teaching has always terrified me,
but what right do I have to feel this way now, 

when red-lit metal boxes 
are jamming Kyiv highways 
in a desperate attempt to flee the city. 
What do I know about fear?

Ugne and Yaryna forced a good morning smile.
I stared at the class for a painful moment,
then nailed Putin to the whiteboard.  
Oh! Their faces! Their Munch faces!

I tried to answer all their questions, 
giving Ugne and Yaryna a moment to speak,
to cry, to be consoled by their classmates, 
many of whom had not heard what had happened 

until now.

©2022  Nancy Byrne Iannucci
All rights reserved


Nancy Byrne Iannucci…

…is a widely published poet: Defenestration, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Glass: a Poetry Journal are some of the places you will find her. She is the author of two chapbooks, Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review, 2018), and Goblin Fruit (Impspired, 2021); she is also a teacher, and woodland roamer.

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