"NO MORE ROOM FOR ENGLISH PROFESSORS" by Catherine Rankovic––Guest Blogger

 

I saw the last of them: Men of little flesh, they faded like pages
and at last became paper,
and one or two, painted in oils,
were hung among their books.
They taught the use of The Readers Guide to Periodical Literature,
taught The Canterbury Tales from thirty-year-old notes,
sent us to study manuscripts on microfiche,
and took sabbaticals,
mumbled, “Be that as it may…” and “so to speak,”
sobered up on Antabuse or electroshock,
wore cordovan wing-tips
or socks and sandals with tenure, I saw the very last one
from a mullioned window, dashing
across campus, his minnow of a mustache now gray,
while forty-five part-time instructors,
barbarians in lumberjack shirts,
replace his books and journals
with newspapers and materials
easier to throw away.
The world has no more room for English professors,
their offices divided, remodeled, their departments
now run by Visigoths and flashy scholars.
I witnessed their filing away
underground, in reverse alphabetical order.

––Catherine Rankovic, poet and editor, lives in St. Louis.  Her most recent book is Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis (2010). Learn more at www.BookEval.com


Catherine received a Pushcart nomination for “The Juke,” published in Kansas City Voices Volume 8. Order your copy today at: http://www.kansascityvoices.com/

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