My Students Astound Me…

So, you know I’m teaching an on-line class for a UC Extension, right? This week I asked my students to write pairs of sentences: the first about a birth, the second about a death. And then I encouraged them to write other pairs (such as falling in love/ divorce).

To tell you the truth, I was tired when I logged on today. The funny thing about on-line classes is, I always under-estimate how much energy they require. And then I get frustrated because I don’t want to feel like I’m tethered to my computer all week.

But when I opened my mailbox, and I started to read, my hair almost stood on end. This was the first exercise I read. It’s by JA, a young Filipina student:

Birth and Death
It is totally charged time. Electric, searing and white. There is
important silence, like the quiet between claps of thunder.

The dull ache everywhere is making lists. The last of everything. I
long for wilderness and hold my breath.

Love and Divorce
Even your hand holding my elbow burns: Forbidden. Walking to work in
my evening dress to the C train. Our train.

There was no way she would give birth again. Not now. She nodded
her way into the clean, white office—knowing things would never be
the same.

Spring Summer

One month a year to be a giddy slut. If only they knew “Paypal”
meant a trip to Paris every year. It’s amazing how little they
really know about me.

I have never seen breasts sag like this. The suit is forgiving in
places, like my ass, but I can feel my own boob flesh sweating
against my body. Little misty pools of big-breasted sweat. The
opposite of sexy.

Violinists and Cellists

Even though she played with technique everyone would kill for, there
was no life moving her music along. She had become an instrument
herself. And her mother was going to shine and polish her like the
trophy she was.

She had never smoked pot before. But on the way to the truck stop it
seemed like the sensible thing to do. No one would find out—and
anyway, she had no idea what else to do in Maine.

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