Tears and a Torn Conscience

dinosaur skeleton in a museum

She puts her head down and cries, “I’ve let down you teachers. I’m stupid.”

I try to console her.

She asks, “Can’t you give me a list of vocabulary? So I can understand?”

I remember my intention at the beginning of the year. We would change how we work together. We would meet regularly to co-plan. Then I remembered her hardened expression every time I tried to meet her. My resolve failed. I surrendered.

Her question is a knife upon which my torn conscience bleeds. As it should.


an incomplete test …


during the downpour

Photo by Justyn Warner

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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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