The teachers line up to eat a celebratory
lunch they provided themselves, pulled pork
warmed in crock pots, store bought cookies.
For the next few months, the hallways, dark

except to maintenance staff buffing floors,
cleaning what they never think to clean
in February, echo June July August hours.
Boxes used for the last room reshuffle lean

in precarious piles, sixes sharpied into eights,
sevens into twos, some numbers crossed out
altogether. No one was ready for this fight,
but it’s another year and a grad card bought.

The principal struggles to adjust the volume
for a retirement video, the auditorium dim.