by Jerry Bradley

In third grade I fell in love with my teacher,
an indecency I know, but Miss Heusinger’s eyes
opened and closed in that sunny classroom,
well, like a pupil. Aside from a single afternoon
of cleaning the chalk trays, she was a woman
whom I almost never stood near. She married,
moved away; it was her policy, I learned,
not to leave no child behind.
A substitute finished the term.

That is how a heart first learns to break . . . then
life repeats itself. The trouble with redundancy
is there is just too much of it.

Years later she is likely divorced,
abandoned by a man who wasn’t good enough,
or has died. But she is still one of them –
the ones we are condemned to remember –
and, call it what you will, never quite quit loving.
You may remember what your first love said
when you met, but you couldn’t see the future,
how she held it like an eraser in her uplifted hand.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.