“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis
For Matilda, who is very often one of my best teachers.
Mama, you have to be careful,
you call. Mama, I said Shhh. A troll is sleeping
under this bridge. Mama. But I am fumbling
with my camera and when I say
WHAT? It’s like I’ve snapped
a thousand twigs all at once with
the weight of my boot. Kicked up
sound. Fashioned sharp splinters from a pile
of smooth sticks. And like that. Lickity split. As much
a surprise to me as to you, I’ve awakened
the monster you so kindly warned me against. Do I do
this often, Love? I wonder. Disturb what is peacefully
at rest? Dredge the mud and the leaves from the floor,
pound them together into a fretful paste? Color over
your sky and your birds and your pretty rainbows, all the grass
with a solid, stinking brown? What must you think
of my mess making? It cannot be artful what I have a tendency
to do. I wake up trolls for Heaven’s sake. I wake up
trolls who live under bridges whom otherwise would let you
pass by unnoticed. Unscathed. Unchanged. So much safer
that way. You can imagine. I’m just an accidental obstacle add-er.
A bumbler. A muddler. A recorder. A reflector. A bugger who has
to ask what? and what? and what? over and over and once more.
It’s confusing to me then, my Love, why you take me by the hand.
Why do you insist on revising the story for me? Swapping out the mean troll
for an actually fairly respectable one who grants you permission
to pass? Why do you lock your fingers into mine and say, despite
everything we’ve just been through, Come on Mama. Let’s jump off the side instead.