The Pale Goth’s Letter to a Former Teacher

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

 —Henry Adams


Dear Sir,

I regret to inform you that I don’t regret
the SpongeBob caricatures I drew on your desk calendar
when you said “Don’t do that,” but I drew
the caricature anyway, and you smiled
and said “I thought I told you not to do that?”

I regret to inform you that I don’t regret
skipping Calculus to sit at your desk
while you taught another class, The Smiths
pouring through my headphones as I wrote
a five-page explication on One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
that you didn’t have to read, but you did.
After all, you were my shop teacher.
No one expected you to be an expert on Russian literature.

I regret to inform you that I don’t regret
how in art class I made you a plaque
adorned with spider webs and coffins
and a Goth girl perched on a stone wall,
screaming “You’re the world’s frightest teacher!”
after you told me “For God’s sake, girl,
whatever you do, just be you.”

Karma’s an elegantly disguised bitch these days, mon ami,
in the wax hands taped to my office door handle
and the student who’s blasting Sheavy as he discusses
Ibsen despite the clock’s devastation of a final five minutes
prior to his next class he knows he’s going to skip to stay here
and listen to music everyone else ignores.