Haibun Today
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 3, September 2011



Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA

 

Teaching Guides

early autumn
bright checks
in the new shirt

The principal says that I am too thin. He doesn't like the way I hold chalk and wishes I spoke in a louder voice. He wants to read my speech before Open House, wants me to sign up for the group dynamics class—wants me to be more like him.

the new teacher
is not his mother
half-eaten lunch

The Board secretary says I am now registered for the family health plan. She thinks I will not be signed up long enough to cover the new baby who is expected in May. Mrs. Preckwinkle says she will do her best and look into the matter for me. "This is a joyous time," she reminds me. "Don't worry about every little thing."

My hands shake on the drive home and sometimes I burst into tears for no reason at all. Must look foolish to the other drivers. I cannot sleep. I plan the next day over and over in my mind.

wind-bent trees
one student
never raises a hand

I fill out every form that is in my mailbox; answer all the questions. Then I drop them in the secretary's basket. Hard to keep up with it all.

The principal is across the desk from me, wants to know why I filled in an application for a custodian's job, and demands to know why I filled out paper-work clearly meant for the parent of one of my students. The principal is angry and his voice is loud. "And another thing," he almost shouts, "we don't eat lunch with the children. The teachers have their own table." I sit looking back at him without any answers. I am getting good at this.

fields of corn
fingers
copy machine blue

end

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