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He places his hand on his heart, says Shukran
for the English lesson,
this specialist in childhood education, their earliest
formation, in a country
where children scavenge rubble or carry bodies
of wounded siblings.
He has written six books, he says, six, his hand on his heart.
this is creative, my talent,
the words delivered with gentle precision, the delicacy of one
who works with children.
My other students listen politely from a distance, teenagers
from Japan, Chile, Azerbaijan.
None of us know what it cost him to share our white desks
at this school in Oregon,
know the Syrian children ruined in Aleppo, while his heart beats
beneath fingers as he says Shukran.
Devon Balwit is a poet from Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has appeared before in TheNewVerse.News as well as in other journals.