Sonder Carries Through the Local English Classrooms

A poem in which I substitute teach at all the schools around me

by Kelli Lage


Students ask me about students in buildings
outside of their barn red bricked walls.
I say,
When we read, fireflies swarm fluorescents.
They know the glow and picture it in nameless irises.

When we write, we create strands of rivers and ink ordains hallways.
They’d never considered if water claims each palm with the same allure.

When we speak,
butterflies flood the room, squeezing through cracks,
decorating words, catching words.
Their eardrums rattle,
trying to hear rasps and ropes of voices they’ve never met.

When we listen, we catch sun songs knocking on sentient windows.
They wonder if our sun is up high enough to see all who live.



Kelli Lage is a poetry reader for Bracken Magazine and Best of the Net nominated poet. Her debut full-length poetry collection, Early Cuts, is forthcoming summer 2023 with Kelsay Books. Her poetry chapbook, I’m Glad We Did This, is forthcoming winter 2023 with Prolific Pulse Press. Lage’s work has appeared in Stanchion Zine, Maudlin House, The Lumiere Review, Welter Journal, and elsewhere. Her website is Kelli is on Twitter / Instagram @KelliLage  and Facebook @byKelliLage

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