Teaching Metaphors
poems by Nathan Graziano

"Wrestling Wallace Stevens"

For weeks I’ve been behind my desk
wrestling a Wallace Stevens poem—

slapping a chicken wing on each image
and crunching a cross-face on the metaphor—

while my students read Kafka
and play the German version of patty-cake,
following words, left to right, with limp eyes,

more interested in American Idol
than a good existential crisis.

I’ve yet to pin “The Emperor of the Ice Cream”
and they’re morphing into apathetic roaches.

This morning we all met for the first time,
me in my black singlet and them with heavy shells.

Like ghosts at a cocktail party, we were quiet.