“If You Like, Write about a Teacher Who Seemed to Be on a Power Trip.” / Question for the poem “Geese,” in which a student is verbally abused by a teacher

Samantha’s tenth-grade teacher assigned the class, write a paper on something you’re passionate about. Samantha knew right off she wanted to write about sea glass. But the teacher said Why don’t you broaden your topic a bit, write about all glass?

Well, Samantha gave it a try, researched all glass and what she found out was, sea glass was the only glass she was the slightest bit interested in, let alone passionate about. So she wrote her paper on only sea glass, she knew it was a good paper but that teacher gave it C, the only C she’d ever gotten, probably because she hadn’t taken his suggestion.

I remember sea glass. It’s sort of pastel, and translucent, and gentle, something like oaktag paper. I too am more passionate about sea glass than any other kind of glass and in this poem I don’t want to write about all glass, only sea glass, that’s the only glass that makes it into Samantha’s paper and this poem but at least nobody will give this poem a C.

Marion Cohen is the author of 26 collections of poetry or memoir; her latest poetry collection is, New Heights in Non-Structure (dancing girl press, about home-schooling and other ideas about engaging with children). She teaches at Arcadia University, where she has developed the course, Mathematics in Literature. A poetry chapbook, Truth and Beauty (WordTech Editions) is about the interaction in that course. Other interests are classical piano, singing, Scrabble, thrift-shopping, four grown children, five grands. www.marioncohen.net

You can see more from Marion in issue 3.3 and the Special 50/50 issue here and here