Teacher Guide

© 2010 Katherine Williams
"Teacher Guide" appears in
American Poetry Journal

The flora and fauna in this poem are all South Carolina lowcountry creatures. Other images and terms come from autobiographical notes jotted by poet and art teacher Kit Loney.
Be cypress, pig-frog, red drum, be pipistrelle bat.
Spell the blue membrane between water and earth.
Conjure Sargasso Sea under your breath.
Now be spartina, now egret, be now rice-rat.
Winged, rooted, and gilled, set your charges travelling.
Feed your nerves on instinct, trusting whatever
is at hand; forget what you’ve been taught. Gather
your shadows; ponder their nutritious wavelengths.
Spend the year earth-bound, tangled—under
the influence of two moons, one for each eye.
Let epithet and praise float clean away;
let soil and rain make themselves into thunder
in this eat-or-be-eaten year. Now, let the mess
of shapes and colors explode, now coalesce.