Chase Twichell

Stone ruins of a monastery, door still standing, starving horse tied to a tree. My dog is lost—I call but no one comes. I dream this repeatedly.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. And if the student is not? Is still a child? Words in a red notebook, not hymns. I never chose my teachers or their gods, peering down together over the pall of Modern Europe, Algebra’s barbed wire, the barking (in French) of Monsieur. Heart-to-hearts concerning discipline and striving. Heartless tests. Surrogate family. What a laugh. Bye-bye, the whole lot of you.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands— words and woodlands briefly simultaneous— maybe that was God? And childhood? A wind blew through it, stealing shingles, breaking branches, not saying thank you, not saying goodbye.

I will not speak of my first tutor. He was my tutor and no one else’s. I dedicate this poem to the flies that came to the wound.