After the bell, the teacher
puts his left hand in the sausage grinder.
With all his experience, he has only an inch left of
each finger. For once, the students listen attentively;
each has a grinder ready on his or her desk. Outside,
the trees ponder in clouds of light-green haze. Every few
minutes, the sun slaps the earth full force. A chubby blonde
looks at her long red nails and wonders if she should change
her major. The teacher holds forth on technique, proper use of
the controls. "This machine is safe as long as you respect it." The
teacher demonstrates, and a neat portion accrues on his chipped
purple plate. Now for proper antisepis and bandaging. Then he moves among his
pupils, adjusting controls, coaching, as small hills grow on twelve worn plates. The
bell rings--lunchtime! "Good work, class!" he says, stashing Tupperware in the
fridge. "Practice tonight, and read Chapter 12 on serving." ==========================================================================
David Oates is the author of Night of the Potato, Drunken Robins and Shifting with My Sandwich Hand. He is the host of the public-radio show Wordland, performance poetry, spoken word, fiction, satire and comedy, in Athens GA, and has been active in spoken word and improvisational comedy. His short fictions, "To the Woods!" and "The Gifts," appeared in Issue #4 and "Dancework" in Issue #6 of The Cafe Irreal.