As the skies darken and spill, two students
fall in love in my English class, their eyes
flashing over verb conjugations. Lightning
jabs the city, endless water sheeting windows,
cascading down, flooding streets; for weeks,
the air a thick veil draping Asia, plump fruit
nodding in the mist. Hands are busy
under the table—his wife, her husband,
their children, other lives, no secret.
They don’t care that I know, as I string
adjectives, comparatives, superlatives
on the board, back turned. After an hour,
I watch them go, desperate for touch, for
their weekly appointment in a muggy motel,
where they’ll peel off damp clothes, join
their hot and delirious bodies to the relentless
drum of rain. And what do I care, as I turn out
lights? I walk home through another wet evening,
under dripping trees, the suspended plums shining
and ripe, close enough to pluck. A snarl of thunder
reminds me, this season will be over soon enough.
Lauren Tivey has recently returned to the U.S. after living in China for the past six years, where she worked as an English Literature teacher in the American program at a Chinese high school. She received her undergraduate degree in poetry and literature from Granite State College in 2005, and her MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2008, where she was the recipient of the Jack Myers Grant for Outstanding Poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Coachella Review, Blue Lake Review, The Legendary, Gutter Eloquence, Snakeskin, and Red River Review, among many other publications. Her chapbook, The Breakdown Atlas & Other Poems, was released in 2011, from Big Table Publishing Co. An avid traveler, she has also written a number of travel stories, which appear online. She lives for poetry, photography, travel, and adventure. Lauren is now Adjunct Professor of English at Flagler College, in St. Augustine, Florida.