The phone on my back desk rings,
while I am giving a spelling test.

The principal wants to see Steven.
I write a pass.

Five spelling words later
the phone rings again.
I tell the class , “It’s probably
Michelle Obama. We meet
for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
once a week.”

The office instructs me,
“Susan has a doctor’s appointment.
Her mother is waiting.”

“Susan,” I announce,
“your mommy is waiting for you.”
These 13-year-olds know
I’m being silly, so it gets a laugh.

A few words later,
when the phone rings,
I inform the class, “It’s probably
the governor. She values my opinion.”

I send Jenny,
who forgot her insulin shot.

Then a young man,
fresh from Afghanistan,
wearing Army fatigues,
enters the room surprising his sister.
Their joy is infectious. Everyone
leaves the class smiling, and I
didn’t assign homework.