Naked Truth

“High school teacher charged with possession of child porn”

The headline screams at me,
and so does the teacher’s name.
I shake my head, forsaken
by speech but not by thought.
How could they mistake
this gentle, charismatic man I knew
for a pervert?

Memories swarm with questions –
His classroom,
his wire-rimmed glasses
and neatly pressed tie,
how he could wake twenty-seven apathetic minds
with the glint
of a book’s hidden treasure.

We grew trees in Brooklyn
and danced in Capulet’s ballroom
with him.
We wrote sonnets and found
traces of ourselves in fictional characters
because of him.
He taught me to write without thinking
and to think without wavering –
two morals I still follow.

But, what of his morals?
Was there an impulse behind his smile?
At home, would he find company
in photographs of 12-year-old girls
who were barely flourishing?
Did he find more satisfaction in studying
his own daughter
than sleeping in the bedspace
next to his wife?

What I thought I knew
and what I wish not to know
have collided – a frontal boundary
of knowledge provoking
a storm in me.
I see its eye, but if I look at it
I have to accept the words I read.
And I must –
it’s his final lesson:

No one is ever who they seem to be.

River Runs Red

Glass litters the streets
Bullets shot from rage
Fire lights the sky
as if dawn has arrived
from hell

A midnight parade
All wearing red armbands
“No more!”
“The time has come!”
like prophets of the dead

Bedlam doesn’t set
when daylight breaks
Yesterday I saw
three men dressed in black
and wearing ski masks
smash a storefront window

I ran away
(what would looters do
to a witness?)
to find a young boy
pushed face first into
the sidewalk
and trampled on by
a gang of five

These walls
can’t shield you
from the river enmity
the torrents of anarchy
outside your door

Who can put an end
to this?
If force and reason
can’t stifle madness,
what can?

Sara lives in southeastern Massachusetts, where she works as a full-time technical editor and thrives as a full-time music lover, poet, and overall admirer of creativity. Since August 2008, she has also been a freelance reviewer for the Sonic Cathedral WebZine, which covers female-fronted rock and metal bands. Her poetry has appeared in The Curry Arts Journal and the anthology More Great Writing By People You've Never Heard Of. You can visit her homepage/blog at http://saraletourneau.wordpress.com/

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