The Death Knell of Columbus

Haibun in English, Meet Room

Haibun Poem

 

The women wear suits.

We file into the auditorium for our December Professional Development. Our Principal, Lisa, stands at the front. “Our agenda has changed. Please let me introduce our superintendent…”

I shudder. Superintendents never come to schools anymore.

Except to deliver bad news.

The petite Latina woman with the hint of middle-age weight takes the microphone. She introduces her team and then speaks.

“You’ve worked hard. It’s no one’s fault, and no one is casting any blame. But your school earned a C three years in a row. Therefore, the New York City Department of Education is moving to phase out Columbus by 2013. It’s not a closure. Your current students will continue attending. But as of September, you will not receive a 9th grade class.”

Colleagues look at each other. Some murmur to each other. Others remark in confusion.

Then Christine stomps down the far aisle, speaking as she goes: “This school has worked with high-needs children 40% below grade in math, 60% in ELA. Yet we’ve improved their performance by 850% and graduated them year after year.

“We will fight you on this!”

The faculty applaud and cheer.

Assistant Principal Vinales tries to escort her away, but Christine shakes him off. Lisa gently lays a hand on the facilitator’s shoulder. Christine allows the Principal to walk her away.

The Superintendent’s face trembles. Her voice cracks as she reiterates her comments. Her words sound flat and lifeless.

But I knew. We would fight.

And we would lose.

Hard steps
On the cold concrete
Pass the naked birch

 

more by FRANK J. TASSONE

Photograph by Ryan McGuire

 

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Frank J. Tassone

I fell in love with writing ever since I wrote my first short story at the age of 12 and my first poem in high school. My free-verse has appeared in the literary e-zine Pif. My haibun has been published in Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online (CHO) and Contemporary Haibun, CHO’s annual print anthology. My haiku has been published by the Haiku Foundation. My senryu has been published in Failed Haiku. I regularly perform haibun and other haikai with Rockland Poets. I am honored to be a part of the Image Curve community as a contributing poet.

Visit my website www.frankjtassone.wordpress.com to see more of my poetry. Follow me on twitter @fjtassone2 and like my Facebook page American Haijin for updates on my latest work.

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