Spring 2009, Volume 6

Poetry by Gerald Yelle

Reconnaissance Mission

Where the access road meets Rte 2, the school installed a call box
for reporting fights and truants and drug deals. You had to press
a couple of buttons—all I did was touch it and it started wailing like a siren.
I strode to the office thinking they'd be looking for whoever
set the thing off. I didn't worry. Didn't let it bother me.
The whole family was helping me into my new classroom.
There were a million distractions. Aris fell in beside me,
waxing rhetorical about being pink-slipped one week and
rehired the next. He'd received a bad evaluation and said the school
must have low self-esteem to want to associate with someone they
didn't think was very good. I warned him the vice principal was
right behind us, taking it all in. He said he didn't care. It's like that
with new people sometimes. I was on a field trip with my son the
following morning, a riverboat tour of New Orleans with the
luminous vanishing point at the end of Lake Ponchartrain, when I
got a call from my mom. She was upset, but we were disconnected
before I could find out why. I booked a hurried flight. Again
I wasn't worried. I knew as long as I did the right thing I'd be okay.
But the phone wouldn't give a dial tone. Then it rang and this sweet
talking solicitor came on and asked for my wife. I requested
identification. He laughed. "The D.S. doesn't give identification."
Next he'd want me to ask what the D.S. stood for. I hung up and
dialed my mom's cell. This time I got through. She said the boy
she takes care of insisted on an outing in Pothole Park where she
tripped on uneven terrain. Between her cataracts and astigmatism
she kept stumbling on the same molehole which is why she
sounded so distraught when she tried to talk to me earlier. But a
winsome lad had held her hand as they crooned impromptus in
praise of moon and stars and the rooftops that lead to them, and
everything now was fine. I didn't think to ask what became of her
charge while she tangoed with her dreamboat. "Thanks for calling,
Bill. Everything now is fine. Your father can stay with you, can't
he?" she asked in answer to my "What about Dad?" That was the
first indication of old demons beginning to stir. Then there was Aris
and the merry vice principal taking jobs in some better off town.

BIO:  I live in Amherst, Massachusetts and teach high school English. Recent poems have appeared in Argestes and Verdad, and are forthcoming in Juked, Bayou and Main Street Rag. Notes on books I have recently enjoyed as well as links to poems published on the web can be found at www.geraldyelle.blogspot.com.