Syllabus for the Dark Ahead
Throughout this course,
we’ll study the American
landscape of our yard, coiled line
of the garden hose,
muddy furrows in the grass
awaiting our analysis,
what’s called close reading
of the ground. And somewhere
something will yip in pain
perhaps, a paw caught in a wire,
or else the furred and oily
yowling of desire.
And flickering beyond the fence,
we’ll see the slatted lives
of strangers. The light
above a neighbor’s porch
will be a test of how we tolerate
of uncertainty, a glow
that’s argument to shadow.
Or if not that, we’ll write an essay
on the stutter of the bulb,
the little glimmering that goes
before the absolute of night.
Copyright © 2017 by Jehanne Dubrow. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 30, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“In a dark time, what is the work of a syllabus? What is the function of a classroom? What does it mean to teach students about the values of close reading and critical thinking?”
Jehanne Dubrow is the author of four poetry collections, including most recently Red Army Red (TriQuarterly Books, 2012) and Stateside (TriQuarterly Books, 2010). She is director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and an associate professor of creative writing at Washington College, where she edits the national literary journal, Cherry Tree.
Date Published: 2017-03-30
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/syllabus-dark-ahead