Spey Rod, 3/29/2010

Current Occupation: Steelhead Stalker
Former Occupation: Composition-grading Robot for Large Urban Community Colleges
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,”

but 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.

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