last laugh

last laugh

Poetry by Andrew T

Whurk Magazine

Issue 61 • March 2018 • Annandale

We chew slowly and carefully,

the meal in front of us rests on a paper plate

—a sloppy joe, corns and peas,

slices of pear,

a single piece of cornbread.

The radio plays a familiar tune,

something from Israel.

Beautiful and nostalgic,

the music haunts the classroom,

like an unwanted tattoo.

My co-worker Ruth speaks up,

tells me, “You know

I went to the Women’s March,

up in DC. Even wore a pink hat.”

She smiles for a brief moment.

Her eyes shine bright blue,

as the children start to yawn,

before they drag their feet

across the carpet,

clearing their plates from the table.

The walkie shakes

like a bobble-head: Attention educators,

please be cognizant of suspicious-looking people

and suspicious looking activity

Shabbat Shalom.

I pull out my phone

and check the news on the Internet.

Bomb Threats loom over

Jewish Community Centers across America,

like a toxic-gaseous sky

spread over every place we call home,

every place we wish to keep safe.

Ruth, the lead teacher,

takes out her mini-white guitar

from behind the storage cabinet.

She strums the strings gently

and softly,

as though she is stroking

the mane

of a lion cub.

Andrew TranComment