Someone had propped a skateboard
by the door of the classroom,
to make quick his escape, come the bell.

For it was February in Florida,
the air of instruction thick with tanning butter.
Why, my students wondered,

did the great dead poets all live north of us?
Was there nothing to do all winter there
but pine for better weather?

Had we a window, the class could keep an eye
on the clock and yet watch the wild plum
nod with the absent grace of the young.

We could study the showy scatter of petals.
We could, for want of a better word, call it “snowy.”
The room filled with stillness, flake by flake.

Only the dull roar of air forced to spend its life indoors
could be heard. Not even the songbird
of a cell phone chirped. Go home,

I wanted to tell the horse on the page.
You know the way, even in snow
gone blue with cold. 

—Debora Greger

Rights & Access

from Southwest Review, 2006
Volume 91, Number 1, Page 90

Copyright 2006 by Debora Greger.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Univeristy of Massachusetts Press. Copyright 2006 by Debora Greger. For further permissions information, contact Debora Greger at 210 NE 7 St., Gainesville, FL 32601, or

  • Debora Greger

    Debora Greger (1949- ) is the author of a number of poetry collections, including By Herself (Penguin Books, 2012). A poet and artist, she earned her BA from the University of Washington and her MFA from the University of Iowa.