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She is lounging on her lightly worn sofa,
dozing off to the hum of her four year old
playing cars as he burrows around her feet.
Her lips blossom into a soft smile
as she thinks of her day,
spent teaching third graders with stubby fingers
and an exuberant yearning for knowledge.
Her hands grasp the remote;
the buttons protrude under her fingers
as she turns to Detroit’s local news station.
The roar of the politician fills her ears,
his voice rasping with words that are bullets,
piercing the life she has worked so hard for.
“Lay offs” and “teachers” and “hundreds.”
Burning dinner clogs her nostrils
and still she remains motionless.
Fear swells her mind like
waves of a deadly tsunami
as she imagines no income, no home,
no healthcare to keep her son safe.
She thinks of her third graders;
their eager faces morph into smiling phantoms
who had only wanted to learn.
She bights her lip to stop tears
and swallows metallic, bitter blood.
I wish to save them,
to swoop down and catch students
who are falling through the cracks
and teachers who are left with broken dreams,
but I am nothing;
I am powerless.