For the Loss of Saleema, Our Student

 

 

 

Pakistan Landscape

A Landscape in Pakistan

A small woman from Pakistan and

Older than most of our students,

You wore traditional garb,

Favoring browns and tans

That seemed to come from tree

And earth and river.

When you first came

You did not smile and

Kept your head down,

Standing by yourself

In the hall during break

While other students

Talked and laughed.

Maureen, your other teacher,

Knew how to bring you out,

Joking with you

And lowering her face to yours

So you would look at her.

Gradually, you did look up,

And spoke and laughed

And talked to other students.

And so you learned this language

Foreign to you and

So difficult for adults.

I loved

Your courage, persistence,

Shy smile and quiet dignity.

We read that you,

Away from us in the country

You came from,

Would not be coming back

Ever.

At the next class,

We teachers had not the heart

To teach, and

So we sat in plastic chairs

That night and

Remembered.

 

Dan Verner

April 23, 2017

 

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