There are twenty-five women in the room.
One man.
And he looks very depressed.
Did he lose an argument with his wife?
Is she taking a meeting
to close a deal
that will guarantee their future,
the brand new Lexus,
the vacation in Paris,
the condo in Miami?
Or is he actually worried about
how little Vicki, or Abby,
or Bruno, or Liam
is doing in math, science, robotics?
Nurses a cup of sickly white coffee.
Doesn’t say a word,
even when Mrs. Miller
starts yelling over the cost
of the composting project.
Turns toward the side door.
Would love to pull a Jesse Owens,
do the 100 in 9.5
to the parking lot,
the safety of his
half-in-the grave Plymouth,
held together by Crazy glue and rust.
But stays still as an oyster,
listens to the report on the
winter chocolate sale,
takes a sip of his coffee,
imagines a summer afternoon,
with his family at the beach.

John Attanas is a sixty year old MFA student at the City College of New York. He is also a principal and teacher at a private school in the Bronx, New York.