Learning This Right Now

No need to save anything on a board anymore,

black or white, ephemeral chalk or marker.

I’ve seen it in schools around the world,

in every language:  Save.

“Save” scrawled next to a boxed off piece of information,

a quote, a math formula, something so vitally important

that no one,

no one,

had better erase it, dare to erase it.

“Save” underlined emphatically, one line, two, or more,

maybe with an exclamation mark, or two, or more.

Not you, not someone from another class, not the custodian.

No one touch this ever, until I alone wipe it out.

“For I desire not to scrawl

this supremely important information again,” sighs

the overworked and underpaid teacher.

“Please, Dear God, do not make me write this out again.”

It must be saved,

must stare out at its audience, ubiquitous,

day after day after week after month –

maybe for the whole semester, maybe the entire school year.

Why, it might still be here when the next school year begins.”

The beleaguered educator thinks:

“If only they all had photographic memories.

I would never have to save anything again.”

Praise be to Bill Gates, may his name eternally be sung,

deliverer from chalk dust and marker smell,

bringer of PowerPoint, descended from the mountain.

At last, after all those years of boxing off and writing “save.”

See the long-suffering old-timer pause in his lecture,

point to what he has just written and say,

“How about learning this right now,

write it down, memorize it maybe,just in case I erase it.”

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