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  • Christopher Clauss


Updated: Feb 15

By Christopher Clauss

After two weeks she is back in the science room

wilting at a lab bench but here, and asking what she missed


No one ever said where she had gone, or why

only that she would be away for a while the absence of detail betraying both


This is the dance, then, hospitalization the tension of speaking of a thing

without saying it a masquerade we do not acknowledge


Here is a paper; this is what we did that day

Her eyes drift, possibly to where she was that morning


I tell her it’s good to have her back


She smiles a thank-you but can’t form the words

Her eyelids well up but don’t overflow


We both pretend I haven’t noticed


This is the dance, then; the balancing act

the tightrope we will walk today and never mention


I spread before her a safety net of notes and practice problems

Lay out a plan to catch her up bit by bit in the coming days


If it’s too much, I tell her

It’s ok to let me know; An eyelid fails her


One drop plummets toward a photocopy of the Bohr model of the atom

She smiles, nervous and ashamed


For a moment we both just look at the splatter


We make a plan for Monday; She says, If I’m here then.

I assure her


she will be


Christopher Clauss (he/him) is an introvert, Ravenclaw, father, poet, photographer, and middle school science teacher in rural New Hampshire.  His mother believes his poetry is "just wonderful." Both of his children declare that he is the "best daddy they have," and his pre-teen science students rave that he is "Fine, I guess. Whatever." Christopher's first full-length book of poetry, Photosynthesis & Respiration is now available from Silver Bow Press.

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