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Adjunct’s Lament



A tumbleweed escorts me to school. On arrival, I scrub the Ayatollah from the whiteboard. My students embezzle my lifework. I sit on the chair, facing them. Wet bands climb the canyon. The Australian student needles me. Distributing packets, I fall to the ground. Input form bubbles inquire about my mental health. Have I been crying decently? I task my students with describing the classroom, which I myself find indescribable. I sit on the chair of the department’s face. My nights are given over to phytophotodermatitis. I prune adverbs from student essays. The situation with the Ayatollah vexes me beyond measure. I sit hunchbacked in bed all night, itching my hands.

No one here understands my work.

Student housing remains unfinished, like the works of our greatest authors. In this class, failure will result in a pass. Grading papers, I doze and awake to carnage. The tenure track loops around my apartment. I ask my most massive student to barricade the door. The teacher’s pet hides in the damp space under my knee. Psoriatic townies catcall me. I instruct my students to drink from the sources. I have developed an allergy to lemons, or limes. The Ghanaian student hands in a paper in flames. My students hate Moby but love Philip K. I am aware of the effect my stature has on some students. A rent in my stocking increases my overhead. A gibbon replaces the Australian student.

Go to bat for me, I plead to the chair.

One student mistakes my itching for signed advances. His sourapple breath is meant only for me. I give up Aikido but keep boxing, as a failsafe. I am asked to substitute teach my own class. I sit on the chair, facing my students. Copies of the syllabus may be purchased from the vending machine using dining dollars. Extra credit goes to the student who identifies the passage cribbed from my dissertation. My robotics counterpart thinks that I am a scam artist. Strangers send dick pics to my faculty email. Adjectives my students use to describe our classroom include: yellow, oblong, vibeless, linoleum. I forget the difference between hermeneutical and exegetical. My clogs echo in the dreary stairway. My students don’t know what rain is. In the middle of the night, I wake up dreaming.


Preston DeGarmo is a writer based in New York. He has work forthcoming from The Evergreen Review.