The time you first went out the door
you got a sheet-cake and a plaque;
teachers clapped and cheered as one
while you squirmed noticeably between tears.
Then you came back to help us out
in jobs where glory does not stay
and mentored us in your aged state
through withering almost endless times.
Smart it seemed to retire and return
for money and your passion fed
but Larry Barker on the news
informed us you were somehow flawed.
And when we searched high and low
(again) for something left to cut
we found you hiding in the teacher’s lounge
cowering for your love and life.
And those same teachers who did pat
you on the back and huzzah your name
now read the Journal report your fate
with faint, faint smiles on selfish faces.
So set, before your lectures fade,
the gradebook and your classroom keys
and glance back one more time to see
the classroom where doubly ran your race.
And when down that 6th grade hall you walk
one final time (really) to the parking lot
ignore the presence of the strengthless mass;
those teachers as they watch you pass.
For while they now guard classroom doors
and avoid eyes with you, the walking dead,
they surely will sometime soon retrace
your footfalls in a last shuffle past
the stinky cafeteria,
violated remains of a sheet-cake in their hands.
–Apologies to A.E. Housman