If Basho Taught High School by James Dickson


A girl with Chanel

earrings asks me a question

about Emerson.



Test: the eraser

ends of their pencils dance like

little dervishes.



The autistic kid

finds God in the right angles

of the hall’s lockers.



A martyred French fry:

foot-flattened and filthy on

the lunchroom floor.



Two P.E. kids play

catch.  One, National Merit:

his “friend,”  Down Syndrome.



Spring morning: and this

English teacher wishes he

could skip class again.



Black kids scramble for

seats in the back of the bus.

Where are you, Rosa?



The janitor hums
“Deck the Halls.” as he pulls down

tinsel from the wall.

James Dickson
streamimage-1When not writing poetry, James Dickson teaches English and Creative Writing at Germantown High School, just outside of Jackson, MS. An MFA graduate from the Bennington Writing Seminars, he lives with his wife, Greer, and their son. Some of his poems appear or are forthcoming in Stirrings, English Journal, Burnt Bridge, Bosphorus Art Project Quarterly, Ruminate, Hospital Drive, The Louisiana Review, Spillway, Amoskeag, Slant, The Fiddleback, and Poetry Quarterly.