Cavitate – Poetry by Joleen Jessen

Cav-i-tate (v) L. cavus hollow
The formation of a cavity in a body tissue or organ, as from disease or gunshot wound

I learn this new vocabulary word at a school district training on how to apply a tourniquet to students should they be shot while in my care.
I learn that to cavitate is actually more Math/Science than Language Arts.  
Something about KE =mv2.
This equation, along with the skills I’m going to learn at today’s training, determine whether my students live or die.
And a description of modern military ammunition and NATO forces. What? I don’t remember.
I ask my cooperating teacher to explain this to me, but he is practicing 
our newly acquired skill 
with a blue velcro tourniquet around his arm 
and his cap pulled down over his eyes.
I want to go home and cavitate. With my children.   
My own children.  
As a teacher, is that wrong to say?  
I want to create a cavity in some warm, alive place and bring them inside.  
Just us and their dad and our favorite things.  
I will draw them in tighter and tighter until no precious thing can escape 
and no evil thing can approach.  
We will talk about dinosaurs and baby names and 
lie on our backs and draw pictures upside down on the ceiling of our cave 
like Michelangelo 
or Neanderthals – 
horses and trains and waves crashing and angels. 
We will listen to the rain pouring down, faint blasts in the distance, hearts beating, 
and make our own light.
Joleen Jessen

Joleen Jessen teaches 7th grade Language Arts and Drama at Middletown Middle School. She has been teaching for over 20 years, writing music and poetry for about as long. She is at home in Hidden Valley Lake with her husband, Jay, and their 2 children.

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