The Teacher to His Students The traffic light turns green. Your car won’t budge. You’re either texting or completely blind. And when you do proceed, you’re slow as fudge. You’re still engrossed. We’ve come to know your kind. Or maybe you’re just walking down the street. The sidewalk’s safe enough to use your phone, And yet you can’t pick up your own two feet. Your conversation stops you still as stone. In bathrooms, too: so damned oblivious, To piss with one hand while still on your cell. The flushing renders it invidious And makes your private time a public hell. Okay, it’s an addiction—but your doom If I spot busy thumbs in my classroom. How Meaning Shifts over Time Undoable is what they called her plan; That is, impossible to carry out: To win the local village’s wealthiest man, Though he was just a vain, lascivious lout. She did her best impression of a slut, Contrived to spill his lager down her dress And let him fumble all about her but Maneuvered him to score a drunk success. It worked: the wedding happened in mid-June. Her too-tight gown announced a baby soon. Two decades later, he was seventy-two, In debt, debentures unrenewable, His smile in dentures biting her with rue— She sorely wished her deed undoable. Portrait of the Old High School English Teacher He uses words like lest, behoove, indeed When handing out the rubric for the class, Boldfaced requirements that one must heed, Good grammar crucial if one wants to pass. His office door’s festooned with old-time quotes Like “gladly would he learn and gladly teach.” Inside, a mass of papers, books, and notes Crowds out a window just beyond his reach. His dog-eared text of Hamlet is a hive Of scribblings to stir his thoughts, yet he Has taken in more poets dead than live; Recites all Dickinson from memory. His red-penned comments in my margins still Inspire, scare, and in some strange way thrill. David Galef has published over two hundred poems in magazines ranging from Light and Measure to The Yale Review and The Gettysburg Review. He’s also published two poetry volumes, Flaws and Kanji Poems, as well as two chapbooks, Lists and Apocalypses. Unable to stop himself, he’s also written fiction, literary essays, and translation, over a dozen books in all. In real life, he directs the creative writing program at Montclair State University. His website is www.davidgalef.com.