Hradecky, considering Keiko, three or so years
                        and a doctor’s visit between them—

(in the consternated din of somebody tempering distant dumpsters,
scraping phlegm from a shivering snare drum)

who’d ash in the awkward asses of grumbling window units
                                              slumped against crumbly sills, asea
                         in dismissive soliloquies, lachrymose wheezing
                         rasping each crepitant name,
                                        each ambling song of innumerous larks and starlings,
                          every stiffened and itchily chittering spat amidst oaks and squirrels,
                          the virginal symphonies circling stars had nourished,
to dull and tumid moans borne ashen and frail as the squealing chalk stubs children had shrunken in dryly transcribing redundant schoolyard dictums, ersatz laws like
“I will not run with safety shears…”, or
“I will not weave my gum in Matilda’s pigtails…”,
“I will not butter the soles of Mrs. Chisholm’s creaking sneakers…”,
“I will not idly tap my toe (to mysterious music nobody knows but me)…”,
“I will not force my thumb into Peter Dilby’s bellying navel
       (even if packing it back is of almost mortal concern, a Samaritan gesture)…”,
“I will not file my teeth with a ferrule
       (albeit of no other purpose really—far be it from me to have given it purpose)
        to resemble the fangs of hyenas and marmosets…”,
                                                                                                       toothless rules
of basely compassionate masters scribbled
ad nauseam over a wall or a bruising palimpsest,
lain baying and raking the breast of an umbrous pall
that Chisholm defiled with cock-eyed equations and
wizening maxims, chalk worn down like bones
    of a wambling building scrunched like
    puncturing ribs entoiling kidneys,
    hesitant heralds of lavish catastrophe scratching their scalps to a farrow of dandruff,
    plangent calls of a teetering condo shrieking
            let me rest already god damn it,
    a giddily prickling stitch run wild as ermine sniffing out
    tingling herring and rat kings wove as phylacteries over
    that gnashing scowl, that sinister limb of that
    woebegone Mrs. Chisholm, damned to recant
                in but fraying and bandying pink noise
                anything even dissembling cherubic freedom —
her uvula stripped to but snickering wire,
her throat besodden with crackling wax,
her teeth worn down to unwieldy chalk stubs,
every phrase refined to a styptic powder that
rankly lolled from her stringent lips
like a prostrate possum’s tongue,
like a skin tag lowering year by year from a crazed and crepitant breastbone.

(Keiko later discovered that Edith Chisholm was only a Mrs. in name alone, no née or beau, and retailed the profound deceit within virulent whispers, nervously folded spalls of notebook paper passed amid restive desks, in erratic chicken scratch chewed through the blackboard one disturbed November morn; and banished her back to Poughkeepsie, never to grade or degrade a pupil again.)