My writing students sit with me
in a smart classroom. It is called
smart because a data projector
hangs from the ceiling by a post,
a screen the breadth of a white barn

supplants the grass of the chalkboard,
small black speakers perch
like crows, and a podium stuffed
with VCR, DVD, and CD players
looms like a scarecrow in the front.

On the pierced side of this podium
lie silver wounds for hooking up
the milking tubes to whole herds
of Macintosh. Our classroom is so smart
we hardly know how to escape it.

Sometimes we hide up in the hayloft
and stroke the inky shadows of mice.
Sometimes we suck on a poem,
get out the rusty sickles of Time,
whatever it takes to put off buying the farm.

“Cutting Edge” by Paul J. Willis. Copyright © 2009 by Paul J. Willis. Published in Rosing from the Dead (WordFarm, 2009). Used with permission from WordFarm.

Paul J. Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College and the current poet laureate of Santa Barbara, California. His most recent collections of poetry are Rosing from the Dead (WordFarm, 2009) and Visiting Home (Pecan Grove Press, 2008). He is also the co-editor of the anthology In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare (University of Iowa Press, 2005).


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