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Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Inglorious Fall of the Mystical Mrs. Kowalski

I was stopped by a teacher
whom I did not know
as I walked from the Girls'
room, from the Girls' room down the hall
"Take a message to Mrs. Kowalski
She's at lunch and cannot take a call
Mrs. Kowalski was in the Teachers' Room
down a hall, inside a door
that I had never been within
but knew with third grade
certainty a "par excellence" adventure
as Mrs Kowalski herself would say
was, for me, about to begin

I did not know what
she did in there
I had never thought
to know
I knew only
for certain
that beyond my
pounding heart
beyond the gold
leafed door
unleashed, unfettered, free intellect
would passionately glow

And so face burning
with anticipation
I turned the brass
handle and pulled
that heavy door ajar
and there sat
Mrs. Kawolski
my perfect Muse, my
kindred true matched soul
the woman who spoke of
picture words
of wonders of the world
who wore her hair
piled high, held with
bright enameled sticks
as she freed a banner of
knowledge light unfurled

The wonderful Mrs. Kowalaski
with whom I lived each school day
one following the next and next in
joyous infatuated kind
and on the days apart
I dreamt of our life together
in a stone house near a lake
in a wood, living in my mind
A house where I would go
when I was finished grown
Where we would drink
crimson wine in crystal glasses
and speak in modulated voices
about how the years had flown
She'd smile into my
grown up eyes and tell
me she had always known
Our voices would be like
music spilling everywhere one might look
and we would talk endlessly into the
deepest night of this or
that good book

For Mrs. Kowalski and I
would talk of course of only things
that mattered
There near the lake that
glittered our thoughts like leaves
again and again were scattered
falling one and one and one again heaping
softly fitting one into the other
until again I was convinced that
Mrs. Kowalski was my destined mother

That is the the way it was
before I opened up that door
That is the way it would have
been if I had kept things pure
That's the way it would have been
if that unknown teacher I did ignore
But here in the Teachers' Room
Mrs. Kowalski, perfect woman of my
heart, my soul, my mind
There sat Mrs Kowalski
causing me to wish I could go blind

Blind and never see her ever chomping on a pickle
trails of juice dripping down her chin in
a snaking grotesque trickle

As I stood there in that doorway
of the gilded Teachers' Room
and watched the formerly sainted, now briny
Mrs. Kowalski fade and fade and fade
into mediocrity's unrelenting gloom

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