The sun shines at my back as I greet my students, my lovelies, at the door.

Good morning hi lovely good morning miss hi how are you good morning I like your shirt good morning lovelies hi miss good morning I’m glad you’re here hi I missed you.

Chairs scrape the floor. An errant phone buzzes and scraps of conversation — about Instagram, what happened on the bus, someone’s new shoes — float across the room. A few lovelies unzip their bags; most walk to the bookshelf in the corner. Chairs scrape the floor. Again. Books open. One mind at a time begins to focus on the words on the page, and we shuffle into near silence.

I’m counting the copies I made, writing the objective on the board and taking attendance when he comes to the door. It’s his normal time: not yet late, but almost.

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“Ms. Graham,” he says, before we even greet each other, “last night I had a dream that life was easy and sin was hard.”

I should ask him what his life made easy would look like. I should ask who still had the willpower to sin. Why. I want to know who was there, who wasn’t, how he felt. Most importantly, I should tell him: his mind dazzles me.

Instead, without thought, I say, “Wow. I can’t even imagine that.”

As he walks to his desk and puts down his bag, I add, “Please tell me about it later,” doubting that I’ll remember to make this come true.

kerry.graham@thebaltimorebanner.com

Kerry Graham teaches high school English for Baltimore City Public Schools and is a creative in residence for The Baltimore Banner.

Kerry Graham is part of The Baltimore Banner's Creatives in Residence program, which amplifies the work of artists and writers from the Baltimore region.

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