The Thin Red Line                                              

            I read them because I had to,
            The poems,
            Because I needed the grade
            They came in all sizes, by which I mean lengths,
            And shapes, by which I mean arrangements on the page
            Occasionally a word would hit me like a pistol shot
            Or the sudden aroma of wet grass
            And between shots and shoots my mind began to wander about
            Miss Evans, with her thin red lips and
            Green bewitching eyes often sighed
            When I came up short by missing the ‘theme’
            Because every poem, she said, was arranged around a theme
            And when you saw it the words would fit together
            Neatly as base pairs on a strand of DNA
            To make her point she used a big red piece of chalk
            To make a thin red line that cinched a poem together
            Like a purse
            And all the crazy words that punched or made me shudder
            Slipped back into the ranks like chastened soldiers
            At the sound of their sergeant’s bark
            From what I could tell the themes couldn’t tell me anything I hadn’t 
            already known: that life was short, love (even puppy love) mostly 
            painful, and that a kind of magic might happen if you stopped and 
            breathed and looked closely enough at something – or someone
            I spent most of my time in class
            Looking pretty closely at
            Miss Evans’ thin red lips and
            Green bewitching eyes
            Wondering how in the world she could turn the
            Eiffel Tower into an edifice, Notre Dame a church and         
            Paris a city of ordinary girls
            When at last I got up the gumption
            To show her a poem of my own
            The theme was so obvious
            It took an eternity before she cracked a smile


            Emanuel E. García, Leaf Thoughts, One Hundred Poems2013