I can still feel him sidling into my wooden seat
carefully to avoid the creaking
while the rest of the class is at work,
but all of us know our tenth-grade math teacher
does this with most of the boys.
He puts one arm around my shoulder and then
with the other he holds my pencil with me,
scratching out the algebra as though this is
the most natural thing to do, our hands
gliding across the page so that even writing X’s and Y’s
feels like one fluid motion. He stops
for a moment after writing the equal sign and
if I hesitate, he takes the lead,
his round face turning into a smile:
it is as simple as that.