White Space

Look there: a five-foot marijuana plant in a pot on the porch where any meandering patrol car could spot it from the street, creeping cop cops pot in pot, I do not want my mind to do this. My faculty tag will tag me; I should have parked farther up, but too late now, I will not be seen to turn chicken. Horizontal clapboards and the porch floor slats on the slant make your eyes go wonky. Op art-chitecture, there’s a notion. Tacky screen door, wrought-iron grille with iron bird perched on an iron tendril. Swings. Hello. Hello. The strains of Dock of the Bay. Why do they say the strains? Music is the sieve of stress, it strains the strain? Stop this. Watching the tide roll away. Taste of bourbon deep down my throat, in need of refill.

So blond. Taller than I remembered, even though I last saw him—what?—five hours ago, but sitting then, in the student perch beside my desk. Dead eyes. No: spaced-out, tuned-out, dropout hurt-eyes; he is a spaniel. With a gold stud in his ear. I am his advisor. I advise him to seek the barber. I advise myself to turn and go back to the car. He says, Hey, Teach.

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