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learning how to 'gérer'

i stayed after class today to talk to my french teacher
without a reason.
madame? she was tearing up.
ça va? quest-ce-qu’il y a?
“tu vas me faire pleurer, anna” (you’re going to make me cry)

she told me her mother died two years ago today.
she was wearing a skirt with her favourite colours, pink and black
& she said adults are not better at handling death,
even though they’re supposed to be—
she kept saying “gérer” which i didn’t understand
(it means to manage, to make do.)
madame aminot doesn’t think she can gérer.

she never talks about her private life in class, unless to say
something about her boyfriend who is just called
”mon amoureux” (no good word in english— lover? loved?)
when i am forty-three, my mother will be 83.
she might not be alive—

oh, madame, madame. i hope you know that your mother
and your amoureux and your adoring high schoolers would have
found you beautiful in that skirt, at that moment,
especially with your teary eyes. i am sorry
i was the only one there to comfort you, and i am sorry
you let down your guard in front of a student but
i am so glad you hugged me.



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