Poetry

Hey, Teacher!  Remember Me?

                By Catherine Hedge

She was waiting at the optometrists

Her new glasses should be in.

He taps her shoulder and greets her,

 “Mrs. Jones?”

With a grin as wide as Montana,

He asks her

What she knows he will…

“Hey, Teacher! Remember Me?”

She looks at the man, 35 or so.

Thinning hair, pressed shirt and tie

He holds one baby in his arms

The other, his daughter, tugs his sleeve

Her eyes are cinnamon brown and curious

“Papa, is this the one?”

He smiles, tilts his head and whispers,

“Yes, Mi hija! …You see, I told her…

You were the one who said I could

when I thought I  couldn’t

Who made me learn

when I said I wouldn’t

Remember… you put me in the very first row?”

He asks again, worry touches his voice

“Hey, Teacher! Remember Me?”

She scrunches her eyes, looking

Past the years, through the haze

He squirms under her inspection

She catches a freckle dancing just over his eyebrow and

The way he bites his lip to keep from laughing

Twenty-five years disappear like snowflakes on fingertips.

She smiles, “Well, Robbie Lopez!  How good to see you!”

They chat a bit, their faces shining. Others walk by amazed.

The baby squirms. He has to go.  She sends him off with a gleeful smile.

She’ll think of him tomorrow …with that girl in the very first row…

She sighs, savoring the secret language between the teacher and child..

She knows what the young man really said…

He said….

“Hey, Teacher!

Please remember me,

because

I remember you.”

Archeology Site: Fort Riley, Kansas

By Catherine Hedge

Clack…Clack…Clack…

Crouched by the streambed

The oak-skinned Warrior Spirit

Strikes flint in quick, sharp, rhythm

A duet with bitterns hiding in the marsh

The black-eyed ghost and his chipping stone

Free arrowheads from rocky chaff

Tapping the edges to blood-letting thin

He twirls the point against the sun

As mule deer stare with anxious eyes

For two thousand years, drought and flood

The seasons shift as sand between his toes

Bison and tall grass to asphalt and diesel

Moccasined men to Fatigued brigades

The hills change colors like shedding lizards

Clack…Clack….Clack…

The Warrior hums a tuneless song

The Barred Owl answers

The Spirit-Man stops,

Tilts his head

And listens

He hears us rush by

Like whispers in the cottonwood

(In celebration of 150 years of Fort Riley, Kansas.  On permanent display in Cavalry Museum.  First Place award winner.)

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