The Buffer


Late June, the third floor corridor’s lined

with upright coffins, opened wide, unearthing

photographs and posters, old notes inked

and penciled onto metal doors and walls.


The hallway’s filled with classroom desks,

with abandoned books and toeless sneakers—

filing cabinets frame each classroom door.

In the late day half-light of early dismissal,

the custodians are cleaning out the year.


Inside my room Steve Mettrick’s gloved hands

pull the metal handle to his waist. He flicks

the switch, and then he’s dancing—left to right,

right to left, and back. Up and down he shifts

the buffer’s handle, gently; his touch is light

and steady, his box steps small, precise.


On and on he dances, from the farthest

corner, backward, to the open classroom door.

On and on he dances, until the dust has settled,

until the scuff marks are no more.


Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut,for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication.His poems have subsequently appeared in The Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, Northwind, Innisfree, and other literary journals.