After a school year of sitting at home
as a student, it’s odd assuming
the position of teacher for five days.

These kids, they ask
about family and favorites,
for help and humor,
gracing me with their own in return.

And as fatigued as I am
after endless assignments and essays,
and though this camp lasts only a week,
and despite my wish while here of sleep,

I cannot deny that these kids
have erroded a cove in my heart,
that they will not simply be service hours
for clubs and college apps,
but memories with names and faces,
memories of a boy asking if it says
‘Man’ or ‘Main Office,’
of a girl sharing how her siblings
are each spaced two years apart,
of being pestered to stay longer
any time I left early for other obligations.

I am sorry I cannot stay or come back,
but after these months of virtual solitude,
of static silence, I feel as if I have
finally stayed with a class this year.