TA tells class ‘i don’t know’ when asked ‘what is slant rhyme?’

1. anton and i
on the 9am shuttle
feet pressed on wheelwell
he asks
if i went directly
from undergrad
to gradschool
i tell him
i graduated college
in 1998
i was eight then
he said

we laugh
at the impossibility

2. short circuiting
i cast lines
far and wide
into class
without notes
or a lesson plan
fumbling at the chalkboard
with trochees and iambs
good thing i’m not taking this quiz
i say
shortly followed by
an apology
i am so
this quarter
and even though
i feel like an imposter
at least
i have them laughing with me

3. what is slant rhyme?
someone asks
and i face the group
of 30 and say
i don’t know
and what i mean by that
i could point it out
but didn’t come armed with examples
which is another way of saying
my brain and my body
parted ways
sometime last week
and they have not seen each other
which is another way of saying
if you don’t know it now
you just
don’t know it
and the only thing
i can think to compare this too
is learning to ride a bike
i can only tell you so much
but you’ve gotta figure the balancerhythm
the pedalforce
the wheelangles
that will keep you
moving forward

4. number four brown paper bag
five peanut butter malt balls
rolling around inside

5. you are going to tampa
and you are bringing with you
a flattened puffalump mouse
a stone in your pocket
the green daddy hankie
to remind you
that you are safe
and to speak and act through love

6. old student center
sunsoaked cheeks
back propped on metal pillar
scribbling a blue book manifesto
like an umberlla opened over me
this is what it was supposed to be like

7. dance studio
on campus
blonde wood floor
enters in rectangular patches
as soon as i hear someone say the word
i know
i am in the right place

8. how to translate
dance into language
is challenging
but the choking series
floored me

9. oxygen tank
meets neck tattoos
at the tampa airport
while i
cast out seeds
with laughter
mama meets mama’s boy