Nights at the Community College

by David M. Harris


Week five, and by now I know all of their names

and some of their issues. They all have issues.

Ms. Saeed yearns for Kurdistan

to which, for dark, unspecified family reasons,

she cannot yet return. Mr. Miller dreams

of an Air Force commission after

he passes my class, but he will not.

As he has not twice before.

Ms. Wunderlich has triumphed over

all the English the high school offers,

and awaits the moment

when I recognize her genius.

Her hopes, too, shall perish.


They are not here for love of learning or of me.

My course is one more obstacle

to pass. They must save strength

for something more important – anatomy,

accounting, something

gainful, unlike mere English.

And I? A touch less avid every term,

weaker from the weight of their expectations,

always looking for the student who will

stand up, stand out, remind me

why I come here every week.


Until 2003, David M. Harris had never lived more than fifty miles from New York City. Since then he has moved to Tennessee, married, acquired a daughter and a classic MG, and gotten serious about poetry. All these projects seem to be working out pretty well. His work has appeared in Pirene's Fountain (and in First Water, the best of Pirene's Fountain anthology), Gargoyle, The Labletter, The Pedestal, and other places. His first collection of poetry, The Review Mirror, was published by Unsolicited Press in September, 2013. On Sunday mornings, at 11 AM Central time, he talks about poetry on WRFN-LP in Pasquo, TN (

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