I was summoned under pretense I’d won a new car
from Publisher’s Clearinghouse,
required to show up in person to claim it,
a ploy I knew was used by authorities
to catch criminals.
I had nothing to fear, I wasn’t a criminal,
and there weren’t any warrants out for my arrest.
I walked into the stadium expecting to see
many similar winners
and shiny new cars revolving
on pedestals as when GM or Ford
unveils new models with
confetti and music and special lighting,
so was stunned to see in the stands
all my teachers: from pre-school, elementary, middle school, high school,
community college, the university. Mr. Rauchle,
who I thought had been dead for years,
was healthy and smiled his tight-lipped smile,
side swoops of his hair still combed down center forehead
into that point he’d stab me with
in tenth grade history. On behalf
of my hundreds of professors
and teachers, he presented me their
collective Certificate of Disappointment.