top of page


On Deciding Which Books to Add or Remove from My Shelves Behind Me Before My First Remote Learning Session

so as to keep my job—

so as to seem smarter—

so as not to be judged

so as to feel productive—

so as not to be crucified—

so as to be judged better

so as not to be condemned—

so as to make a first impression—

so as to keep myself from crying—

so as to make a lasting impression—

so as to make room for new books—

so as to feel a sense of control over my life—

so as to fool myself into thinking they care—

so as to arrange the deck chairs on this Titanic—

so as to assume the video feed will actually work—

so as to remember what I have on my shelves anyway—

so as to fool myself into thinking they can actually see—

so as to cultivate some sense of self hidden among the titles—


By Aaron Sandberg 

Paper Template in a Poetry Workshop

Paper Template in a Poetry Workshop

Class, I give you

a little glass vial.


How much poison

can you put in


to pack

the punch?


And can you make

an antidote


to cure us

from The Fall?


Drop it on my desk

before lunch.


By Aaron Sandberg 

 Aaron Sandberg uses the Oxford comma and will fight you if you don’t. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in West Trade Review, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Sporklet, Abridged, Unbroken, The Racket, Writers Resist, Neologism, Yes Poetry, perhappened mag, Right Hand Pointing, Monday Night, and elsewhere. He is a Pushcart-nominated teacher from Illinois. You might find him—though socially-distant—on Instagram @aarondsandberg.

bottom of page