S.F. Wright lives and teaches in New Jersey. His work has appeared in Hobart, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Elm Leaves Journal, among other places. His short story collection, The English Teacher, is forthcoming from Cerasus Poetry, and his website is sfwrightwriter.com.
He was transferred into my class A week after the first day Because of a schedule conflict. Eyes bloodshot, He’d sit in his desk And lean his head Against the wall, As if his head Were about To detach From his body. Or He’d rest his head in his arms, Asleep, Or pretending to be. I spoke to him Nicely, Encouragingly. Not getting any response, I notified his guidance counselor. He continued sleeping, And staring into space; His guidance counselor Never got back to me. Sometimes When I’d catch him Looking around, I’d say, “Look who’s up!” Or, “He has a pulse!” I’d feel malicious; His classmates would Smile uneasily; He hardly noticed. His flunking Was as inevitable As day’s Becoming night; And, after failing, He was moved into “Night school,” Where my district Puts hopeless cases. The class didn’t Notice his absence; My snide comments Ceased, I was less angry. He’s one I’ll forget; Though If I ever see him, I’d like to ask How someone like that Survives.