Jeffrey Bean

Ella in the Classroom

Ella spins the globe
until the continents blur.
She wants a country

with a wild shoreline, where
the national language
is color, and people walk the streets

in silence, holding up cards
with purple or orange or blue shapes
to greet or shout or buy things.

At lunch, Ella eats only seeds from
raspberry jam. One day
she faints of hunger, and when she wakes,

the whole class surrounds her
with their soothing faces. Tomorrow,
she will tell them her secrets.

The shortcuts through the cornfields.
The stash of licorice in
the tire swing. The creek behind her house

brimming with salamanders
and geodes. Inside the geodes, purple crystals
gleam like buildings

in a capitol city. Inside the buildings,
little citizens
face the windows and glow.


Jeffrey Bean is currently Professor of English/Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. His poems have appeared in the journals The Southern Review, Antioch Review, Missouri Review, FIELD, Willow Springs, Subtropics and, among others. He is author of two chapbooks and the poetry collections Diminished Fifth and Woman Putting on Pearls, which won the 2016 Red Mountain Prize for Poetry and was published by Red Mountain Press in 2017.