The janitor at Catholic school lost his mother
to a brain tumor. Her final words to him:
no more medication.
So he spent two weeks, divorced of balance,
yelling into the hallways, punching bathroom stalls,
and weeping in his storage closet.

The principle sat with him for an hour,
then said, “Why don’t you take a vacation?”
None of us know until it happens
how we find ourselves
lost when our longest guide is no longer.
The janitor returned with a new pair of jeans.

He smiled at us when we passed him, our teacher
telling us, “Single file.” I’m not sure why
I’m telling you this.
When we returned from recess,
the fish in our classroom tank looked
with open eyes above the water.