35: the poetry teacher, the mildewed porch, and the leaf

Has there ever been a poem
about sanding mold and mildew
from an old white, screened porch?

asked the poetry teacher.

And why would there be?
a student of poetry asked
the poetry teacher, who,
the student thought,
should be able to answer
such a question, a question
that tore to the heart of the history
of this ancient form, and so he
was proud of himself for asking.

Why would there be what?

asked the poetry teacher,
who at the same time that he
asked this question, a leaf
fell from a tree and appeared in the window,
but only briefly, a yellowing leaf,
probably with some holes
made by caterpillars, leafcutters,
maybe, and the moment it took
for the leaf to fall into view,
tip up and down on the air
very much like a shovelblade
(and so the poetry teacher thought:
the leaf shovelbladed and passed
out of view or fell from view
with the slow motions
of a shovel blade, which reminded
him of the slow sink and rise
of oil field reciprocating pumps)
he went back to his rigging days.

The student reminded,
even as the poetry
teacher turned back to him.

What equals a poem, a poem
about a moldy porches, mildew,
fungal hyphae,
and sanding, I imagine for painting,
staining, or something else.  Tools
for such a job, face masks,
said the poetry student.
Why would there be a poem like that?

I don’t know, the poetry teacher said,
and he said: why are you asking?

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