Barry Peters - Poetry


by Barry Peters

I stand behind smashable glass

thirty minutes before the first bell

imagining guns in their backpacks

heavy pistols jostling laptops

rifle parts that can be threaded together

in the stalls of the boys bathrooms

matches, lighters, steel thermoses

of fertilized cocktails, flammable fluids

six-inch roofing nails, tacks, pins and needles

whatever the internet teaches these

students sleepwalking up the front steps

before me, old and unarmed sentry,

so the school board can say

yes, we have people on duty each morning

no, not searching the students, per se,

but with their eyes open for anything unusual

in the glass doors and window glass

I see my own reflection super-

imposed over those adolescents

when I was a rookie English teacher

two kids beat the shit out of each other

in the corridor outside my classroom

last week when I asked a student

for his hall pass, he loaded his ammo,

let the spit fly in my face. This, now, my duty.

They, now, my enemy.