https://friendsofwriters.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Post-Fallback-Small.jpg 500 500 friendsofwritersblog https://friendsofwriters.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/FOW_logo.jpg friendsofwritersblog2020-12-29 13:28:002022-02-25 17:17:59A Poem From Caroline M. Mar’s (poetry ’13) New Collection SPECIAL EDUCATION
Look at Pictures, Illustrations, Charts, and Graphs 1 Projected on the wall, a map, each school a dot. Colored in codes of the standardized test: there’s basic, taxi-yellowed; proficient, advanced, the colors of wealth. But not my school nor each nearby. In our neighbor- hoods, fire burns, blood pools: below basic, far below basic. 2 At year’s start, the principal talks of who we serve, and who we fail. As always, numbers: far below basic, below, below the tip of the iceberg, metaphorical, blue, in her PowerPoint. This is not, unlike half our staff, new. But then she tapes up photographs on a blank, white board. Shows: This boy, jail. This, expelled. This boy just gone, to where, don’t know. So by the end, it’s nearly half our Black male students. They gaze at us from shadowed portraits, flattened to grainy gray. 3 The young white man presenting has a passion I could squeeze into a drinking glass. He says, For Black students, this is the worst place in the state to get an education. Now I need that drink, its sunshine wedge, to squeeze into the low and fizzing whisper of a G & T, to touch, to eye nothing but glass between my hands, here, where color decides. 4 Some smile, but most practice the shape of hardened mouths and eyes. These boys are gone. We let them down. It’s quick: I start to cry and by the end, I’m shaking, sobs while paisley tissue packs pass round to my sweating hands. How deep, I wonder (don’t ask), will this water get? Far below the iceberg’s metaphor, far past the clink of ice, I see films of the ocean floor I showed my kids, who tried to love nothing, but loved the glow of creatures alive at ocean’s depths. The water’s color, though really none, can reflect blue, brown, or green. If you go deep, its hue looks black. In science, they learn black’s no color. Seep of color’s absence. These boys, lost, are failed and failing. What shade is this disaster, then, what color our failure’s cost?