Contact Information: After 20 years of teaching college-level composition, Spey Rod uses the few brain cells he has left trying to trick big steelhead on Oregon’s Sandy River. You’ll have to find him on the river, but if you ask him if he wrote this poem, he will deny it.
Post-Tenure Fish in the Machine
Again, I woke up feeling like medical waste.
I know to be politically correct I’m not supposed say “fuck,”
I knew exactly how that dog at Trader Joe’s felt
in nearly hundred-degree-heat
barking at rolled up windows.
The condensation led me to see it as an aquarium
with the schnauzer sprouting fins and a fish tail
then suddenly becoming a dog-fish.
I stared at him.
He stared back.
And said he was tired
of breathing sulfuric acid,
feeding on crumbs through worn gears,
having fins and tail chewed,
chewing fins and tails of other fish,
facing unrecognizable eyes in surface film,
thinking life has always been this miserable.
Then he hovered in my reflection
and spoke his “Resignation Letter
to The Board of Trustees.”
Not for $80,000 a year.
Not for a good retirement.
Not for the title of full professor.
Not for security of tenure.
Not for pleasing family.
Not for respect of my teachers.
Not for being a good citizen.
Not to pay taxes on time.
Not to have summers off.
Not even for my ungrateful students
will I grade another stack
of quarter-hearted compositions
or any day.