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Dayfly: A Lecturer’s Lament

It’s early morning & dawn is drunk and
at it once more, her vase of fuchsias & wood lilies

strewn oblong across the butte. I interrupt my lecture:
the affective fallacy & intentional fallacy . . .

yet nowhere can we discern what the light intends,
the emotion it draws, my students

on their tip toes, educable ballerinas
at this early hour. Sleep-laden, at 7am, they sag into

the metal of their desks, Dali-like,
& from the clearing of their consciousness

dredge the silted ground to excavate a comment.
I ask about symbolism & metaphor

in A Raisin in the Sun, & what I gift them later
makes them feel uncomfortable, comments on “race

restrictive covenants” and Lindner’s
“Improvement Association” aren’t familiar terms,

& what they gift me makes me feel secluded
on this southern Utah stage, the silence welling up

in both our sensibilities, delicate walls to stay the water
before the storm recedes. But I don’t care

for silence, indifference’s brutish step-brother,
I care for resistance to marginalization,

for thought to get combed back in, follicles
to breathe, the rats and ruin to decenter us dear

listeners, for the world made of exploitation
& my students awareness of it

to tremor at this our hour of the desert’s bloom-driven
sun & Hansberry’s uneasy depiction.  


John M. Chávez is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Dixie State College of Utah. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Conduit, Xantippe, Portland Review, Puerto del Sol, The Laurel Review, Copper Nickel, and The Notre Dame Review,among others. He is author of Heterotopia,published by Noemi Press, and co-authored I, NE: Iterations of the Junco,published by Small Fires Press. His first full-length collection, City of Slow Dissolve, is due out in August from the University of New Mexico Press’s Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series.