I could bolt out the door,
run away through the warm lemon glaze
of September sun. I could forget class,
abandon the heavy blue portfolio,
and that drawing, my first,
as messy and meaningless,
as tracks of slugs on sidewalks.
I stare at my lunch:
tuna salad reeks like cat food,
chocolate cookie tastes of chalk.
A class critique. My stomach lurches,
a pack mule stumbling on rocks.
my sixth-grade student years ago,
now grown tall, dignified, a Druid priest
in an Eagle’s tee shirt.
He sits, tells me he’s an art major.
tell him I’m retired,
trying new things.
My voice sounds small,
a mouse in a jar.
He frowns, touches my arm.
I feel the warmth
of crocus melting snow.
Stay in school, he whispers,
We’re all beginners.
I murmur thanks.
Still I scan the exit,
like a bird fluttering against glass,
seeking an escape.
The clock ticks,
I trudge to class.
Rosemary Wright lives in Ocean Grove. Since retiring she has taken art classes at Mercer County College. She is a founding member of Storytellers Mosaic.