Safe Harbor



 by Christopher Paslay


You made “safe harbor,” you half-wit of a teacher,

you grunt, you nincompoop, you mule.  You made it

by the skin of your teeth, teeth we’ll wait another year

to punch down your throat.


You can thank the former president, George W.—

that gray-haired Texas stooge,

and that Margaret Spellings woman, who never taught

a day in her life, but who was “a mother of school-aged children.”

She was investigated for academic fraud, asleep at the switch

on student loans.  Nonetheless, her reform gives us

the power to fire, to overhaul, to turn you to stone. 


You made safe harbor, so we’re not going to blow you to bits,

firebomb your classroom like Dresden, boil the water

in the yellow bucket you use to wash your boards. 

We’re not going to reduce your erasers to ash.        

What about your students?  You think our reforms

are failing them?  You hear them crying-out

in their anger, their disenchantment, their fear?  Are they

panicking, huddled under their wooden desks?            

You must be mistaken. Our data

shows otherwise.       

You made safe harbor, mister.

Congratulations.  You and your deadbeat colleagues

can keep your jobs.