He sidles between desks,
paper pincered in hand,
as if unclean.
Heads down, their skins crawl,
hoping it's not their turn today
to have space invaded,
up close and personal,
mistakes pointed to with clammy claws.
'Just to be helpful, you understand'.
He aims at bonhomie, achieves sleaze;
expressionless mouth and empty eyes
fail to thaw to a smile,
attempts at laughter leave an icy void.
They know itís best not to argue,
he canít tolerate resistance.
So, they soak up tetchy tongue lashings,
snide accusations of incompetence.
hearts of gold, even the born-again,
fail to find a single saving grace
or glimmer of warmth
to fan or kindle,
sit slumped till he slinks away.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Ann Gibson would be
pleased to hear them.