The Poetry of Karla Huston
Katie, my student, says she wants
to improve her writing, do
a book report for practice
or a literary analysis for fun.
I play along, flattered she's asked,
so together we flip through books,
consider ideas, till she finally blushes,
then admits this work is for a boy
who will surely flunk otherwise.
My stomach knots around my scruples.
This is cheating, I know,
but without it, he'll fail.
And she'll fail him.

Once I loved
a boy so much I'd do anything
for him--wash his hair, clip his nails.
I wrote essays for him about Hawthorne
and Shakespeare, speeches about
putting greens and modern art.
How easy it was--
the open page, his mouth repeating.
Like Katie, I hoped he'd be the servant
to my clever tongue, need my words
so much he'd never leave.
Previously published in The Comstock Review, Wisconsin Academy Review, Angelflesh, and the chapbook: Flight Patterns, winner of the 2003 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest, 2003.