The Physics Teacher

She was a formidable presence,
tall and mighty,
stomping around the room spouting
Newtonian Physics–
mass times acceleration equals force,
seven kinematic equations.

I did not understand her world,
as she spun magnetic fields and mystical
gravitational forces around the earth
she dangled from her palm.

She looked down at us with mighty wildfire eyes,
speaking truths we would never comprehend.

Her room, like a black hole, sucked everything into it
until only we remained, subject to her
unearthly height, a height that spread
through the room, touched the ceiling,
reached the sky.

But suddenly her husband fell ill,
and several days after his first attack,

she returned to us,

wearing on her pale feet only
flat-footed flip-flops.

As she stood there gazing emptily at us
in her gaucho pants
while the math department baked her
a carrot cake,
I realized that, physics or no physics,
she wasn’t so tall after all.

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