Jack Henry

mrs. samilian taught 8th grade math

every time
mrs. samilian
slapped a dusty
chalkboard
w/her pointer stick
i smiled.

no more than 5” tall,
mrs. samilian taught 8th grade math.

some days she wore
leather pants.
some days she slapped
the board w/ her pointer stick
while
wearing leather pants,
and i would smile.

one day
mrs. samilian
called on me to
answer a problem
at the board.

she wore leather pants,
slapped the board.

i could not stand up.
i did not smile.

‘is there a problem,
mr. jack?’
slap
‘you cannot come up
to the board?’
slap slap
‘why can you not
come up to the board,
mr. jack?’
slap slap slap

i stood
slowly.
girls cringed.
boys laughed.
one shouted,
‘jack’s got a boner.’
and i did,
proudly.

mrs. samilian took one look,
smirked.
‘you may go.’

instead of the principal’s office
i went to the boy’s restroom.
slap, slap, slap.

when i explained to the principal,
he let it go. he’s just a boy.’
when i explained to my father,
he let it go, as well.

when i explained to my mother
she grounded me for two weeks
and made me apologize
to mrs. samilian,
who politely declined,

when i tried to bring the subject
at hand
up.

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