Another dark morning I feel less than ready

to teach adolescents about how their dying world works—

no sex or sea levels, with evolution I should expect

seven AM arguments with moms and dads.

There’re the smoke stacks again, orange in the sunrise

and the cantina sign, what power to always emit

the brightest neon. Clutch in, 2nd gear, whoops—

a stale yellow.

I wish I could write like I’m from the Midwest,

find metaphors for broken porch swings in August,

aromas of meatloaf and manure,

or to see the water tower in the distance,

to hear the windchimes and watch old women

in periwinkle nightgowns, walking dogs at dusk.

I should have called grandma back.

She could be dead any day now.

I guess that’s true for us all.

Amber leaves are still on the ground.

Nothing changed since fall passed

away one month ago. The moon faints

from exhaustion, the children wait for the

bell, and I’ve left today’s purpose

on my bedroom nightstand.

CAMILLE NEWSOM is a middle school science teacher in Colorado Springs, CO. She finds inspiration for her creative work in the joys and challenges of teaching adolescents about the odd mechanics of the world.