59 Review
For Teachers, By Teachers

For Teachers, By teachers

A creative space for the working teacher.


Oh, James. Say It Ain't So.

Michael p. carriger

Some of you should not be teachers.  Some of us.  Not.
I read that once and never forgot it, stuck like dog shit
on a weathered sole.
Sometimes I think it up while mowing in the back, hot,
sweaty, marching row after row.  A mindless process, it
doesn’t take its toll

like marking papers.  But, that is not what James is
saying.  See, the heavens will grade the lot and drop
a heavy hammer
on those of us who tread the bored.  It will be His
royal rubric followed.  At peace and rest we might cop
a stammering

plea before the holy administration.  Some of us should
not be teachers.  Our charges are too delicate.  Like
slicing grass tops
indiscriminately, we might, we will, possibly could,
miss the mark, swerve a cut line, loose a soul.  Strike
a second thought for flops, props, and chops.


A Note To My Fellow Believers

Shannon carriger


What birds and reptiles know, 
they do not share. 
Secrets to increasing
wingspan, how to stomach
slither, places to hunt for prey. 
All these lessons they keep, 
shut tight behind beak and teeth. 


Lessons, when taught, 
don’t protect the teacher,
even the best students turn. 
Small or large, driven by
strong enough wind, they
push back. A classroom door
isn’t what it used to be.


Small sparks, with wind, 
make large fires and here, 
lately, the flames won’t stop. 
A burning recklessness—
under cover of righteousness—
wins the day, and I, for one, 
friends, am tired. 


Consider, if you will, the fig tree. 
A persistent creature, pithy
and dry as good friends, its
growth dependent upon environment. 
Not so different from a child. 
After time and tending and the good
luck of weather comes harvest.


Being a target and being a martyr
aren’t the same thing. I never
wanted to die for a cause. 
Sincere, considerate, peace-loving, 
and full of mercy: none of this
can save you anymore.


The First Days

William c. patterson

somewhere behind all of this
a river tugs at its icy edges
something important gets snagged along a bank
as crowds gather in competition with one another

the river that tugs at its icy edges
might be any river, but near this one
crowds gather in and out of competition with one another
some sit loudly in the rain, others march quietly, but less alone

it might be any river, but this one is nearest
to the center of our collective powers—
sitting quietly in the rain, more alone, while others march loudly
hoping that heard voices quiet the need for riot

the center of our collective powers
somewhere behind all of this
heard voices quiet the need for riot—
something crucial is freed from its snag along our banks

They class my voice among tentative things.
— William Stafford
59 Review.png