Emma used to do real good in school
her mother tells her new teacher.
It’s Parents Night at Ryland Elementary.
Mostly mothers in attendance.
What’s the problem, her mother asks.
Fifth grade shouldn’t be hard for her.
Emma’s never had a grade lower than
a B, her mother says.
Teacher says Emma doesn’t do
her homework and talks a lot in class.
Her mother can’t believe it.
Says her father won’t either.
She says Emma goes to her room
right after supper with all her books,
studies till 10, brushes her teeth
and goes to bed.
Bill’s mother’s next in line to ask
the new teacher what’s the problem
with her son Bill, who did so well
at his other school.
Afterward the mothers meet
over cookies and a glass of punch
and wonder whether this new teacher
can communicate with Emma and Bill.
They don’t know Emma’s awake
till midnight texting new friend Bill,
who’s in her class this year.
They like each other a lot.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had fiction and poetry published in various publications in the U.S. and elsewhere. Among them are The Galway Review (Ireland), The Recusant (England), The Missing Slate (Pakistan), Guwahatian Magazine (india), Bluepepper (Australia), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), and The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey). Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com and some of his newer work at https://www.antarcticajournal.com/donal-mahoney-recent-works