a teachable moment

stop. you just called him “a giant bag

of dicks” in front of the whole class. now

we have to unpack. what does that even mean?

is it a metaphor? an analogy?

picture it in your head. close your eyes and—

close your eyes!— envision an enormous burlap

sack filled with flaccid penises.

it means “limp.” because they’re not attached

to a blood supply. is the bag open?

how old are they? what? God, no!

i mean how long have they been in there? days?

years? have they rotted and begun to stink?

what color are they? that’s not what i meant, but fine:

how big are they? do you desire these dicks?

because, my fine young man, language matters.

because if he is “a giant bag of dicks,”

and not “a Ziploc full of farts”— transparent,

yet bloated with noxious intent— or “an empty

safe deposit box”— small and sadly

withholding the promise we all assumed present —

we need to know. so are you coming on to him,

or repulsed by virtue of issues you have

with the male member? right. that’s what i thought.

be more thoughtful with your insults. words

have power. think things through.

now go to the office.

Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is the author of Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020), Dust and Ashes (Californios Press, 2020), and editor-in-chief of The Weight Journal. You can find him at www.MEHPoeting.com writing poetry and prose about education, race, religion, and burning oppressive systems to the ground.

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