I didn’t know in 1985, 
when I boarded the Bronx #2
train to Simpson in this unknown
part of the city, I would find 
blocks of stores not yet awake. 
Clean crisp streets, pigeons 
plump as chickens atop waste 
containers alongside seagulls 
whose wings turned wider 
than my kitchen table. I stopped 
in front of The Jimmy Jazz 
Clothing. The tall woman reflected
in the glass window wore 
a wool jacket she borrowed 
from her mom. Her new shoes 
rubbed the back of her heels raw. 
A cloth bag jammed full
of books about teaching pulled 
at her right shoulder. She stood 
like a real teacher would. Ready. 
I paused for one long moment, shifted 
leg to leg, lifted my head.
I didn’t know in 1985, 
that twenty-eight children, were
waiting for me, waiting for me 
to teach them —how to line up, 
how to read their first words, 
how to add primary numbers.
I did not know in 1985, 
about the school building rooted 
on a steep hill. How it held 
hundreds of bricks on its shoulders. 
Or that stone gargoyles perched on top 
of its roof would spread their long  
wings, as I pulled its red doors
apart, stepping across its marble 
threshold thirty-one seasons.