The same storm that strands us at the station
colors the forest blue with electricity.
Underneath the eaves of the platform
my colleagues and I are milling about,
hopelessly behind schedule, when of all things
a student of mine walks out of the forest.
It’s Kelly Morris. She walks toward us, and
I try hard not to hate her. She’s a stoner.
She’s a kid who makes fun of birth defects.
Laughed when George had to shoot Lennie.
Tracked dogshit on the classroom carpet.
When Kelly falls asleep in class, no one wakes her.
And now that she’s stranded in the middle of
nowhere with the wind slashing her face and the
rain soaking through her Charlie Manson T-shirt,
I can only smirk. “Kelly!” I yell across the tracks.
“Is what you’re doing getting you what you want?”
I expect her to say something asinine, but she only
smiles and says, “Look what’s happening to me!”
Now she holds up her hands, but in this dream
they aren’t hands — they are the hooves of a deer.
I ask her how she will hold her cigarettes,
how she will cut the lines of cocaine on the mirror,
but instead of answering she finishes turning
into a doe. The transformation widens her eyes.
Her muscles ripple. She has never been this alert.
Finally I say something a teacher should say:
“Show all of us what you can do, Kelly!”
With a quick toss of her head she bounds away.
Now she disappears into the wind-swept woods.
Now the whistle of our train sounds in the distance.