Languish

by Julia Gardner


Before school we chopstick
dead tadpoles from a water-filled
candy jar so our students won’t see
the small eelish figures
cannibalizing their brothers.
When kids enter a school
of tadpoles nibble egg bits
as I flounce around language,
teach them the word bilingual.
They say, our school is bilingual
as though we all have two tongues
treading backwash in our throat
while my mouth is a pond holding
a single, limbless tadpole.

Julia Gardner is a poet and former teacher from the DC area. She organized the Liquid Arts writer’s workshop in Busan, South Korea where she performed spoken word. She is presently an MFA candidate at St. Mary’s College of California.