Author’s Note: “The inspiration for this poem came from a photo taken on graduation day of Miguel, an English language learner/valedictorian and myself. It was my last official duty as principal. Both of us intersecting with the past and the coming future. Both of us joyful, filled with excitement and a touch of sorrow.”
Last Photograph: Miguel with the Bronx Principal
I lean towards
his eleven-year-old frame,
in the old auditorium
with its worn stage curtains. So many
decades sewn into their seams.
Balloons filled with helium and pastel
ribbons wave from the ceiling.
The last day for both of us.
Miguel, valedictorian will go on to middle school.
Me, into retirement. Uncertainty,
a hyphen between us. His dark eyes like rockets
aim for the world outside, fly
toward the Milky Way. I wear the ring
from my staff. It vibrates, a whole planet
full of stones: blue topaz, amethyst, garnet,
citrine and peridot. I will never take it off.
In the photo, I haven’t handed him
his plaque. He hasn’t read his speech,
yet. But we are both ready.
Roxanne Cardona is a former elementary school teacher and principal in the South Bronx, New York. Her poems have been published in One Art, Pine Hills Review, Mason Street, Constellations, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Poetic Medicine, and others. She has a BA/MS degree from Hunter College and MS from College of New Rochelle. She and now lives in Teaneck, New Jersey with her husband.
Cardona’s poem is from Delmarva Review’s fifteenth annual edition. The literary journal, based on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has featured the best new writing of more than 500 authors worldwide. Almost half are from the Chesapeake and Delmarva region. The journal is available in paperback and digital editions from Amazon.com and other major online booksellers and specialty regional bookstores. Support comes from tax-deductible contributions and a grant from Talbot Arts with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Website: www.DelmarvaReview.org