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Instead of going to the funeral of a math teacher, I wrote a poem



On Friday, in the grief room

Benjamin drew sunset after sunset

on every paper he could find 

until the markers

the colors of endings 

had dried up.


And still, he drew, 

hues fading, 

covering every surface 

with pink and red and orange and yellow 

increasingly grainy and bland.


He didn’t cry.



I looked at a text from a friend

asking if I needed a break

or a doughnut

or one of those chocolates her students bring me

from Mexico

their laughter overlapping

with their trauma


unable to separate her words

from the girl

I found crying in the corner of my office

one sunny Friday last month 

who handed me her car keys

so she didn’t take the easy way out

into oncoming traffic



The teachers ponder love and loss

and community

sipping coffee

with running mascara 

and practiced shock


It is not the first time

but it is the first time here

as us




The colors of a sunset 

are the same as a sunrise

but Benjamin has used all the ink

and now we have to figure out 

how to bring back the light

By Rae Rozman

Rae Rozman is a former 7th grade English teacher and current middle school counselor in Austin, Texas. Her poetry often explores themes of queer love (romantic and platonic), loss, and education. You can find her sharing poems, book reviews, artwork by her amazing students, and too many pictures of her adorable rescue bunnies on her Instagram @mistress_of_mnemosyne

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