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Photo courtesy of Austrian National Library


I Try to Lead the Class in a Moment of Silent Reflection


Each day, I invite them to this moment.

My prayers crack like pencils snapped between

knuckles and desks. With its lead broken,

it’s just shrapnel to fling at routine.


A chair creaks and their chuckling plumes.

The classroom swells with its mother tongue.

To these students, silence leaves too much room

for the gods unknown, for the breaths unsung.


Folded palms hide whispers then fall apart.

Spirals, doodles, scribbled like new liturgy.

Giggles kink into finger hearts, 

or crease into notes of origami.


I peel back the folds of these paper orchids.

Smiles dance. Their distractions declare

that despite selfish joy or fear they have hid,

laughter is their common prayer. 


By Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry - all hoping to create home. He lives beside a dilapidating orchard in Indiana, where he tries to shape dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. His poetry has been featured in River Mouth Review, Club Plum Journal, Whale Road Review and Ekstasis Magazine.  

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