A Poem by Geo. Staley

What Became of You, Judy O’Brien?


There you are

looking out from our 9th grade yearbook

smiling, curly dark hair.

Below the small b&w photo

thanking me for hiding you from

our less-than-pleasant Algebra teacher.


Now, 50 years later, Judy O’Brien,

I remember little of

hiding you from that Algebra teacher

with her quadratic equations.

Was I being helpful?

could the math have been that difficult?

the teacher that onerous?

Or were we in the quixotic dance of 9th grade intimacy,

a dance that could never outlast an Algebra class

except in the nether creases of my mind?






Geo. Staley is retired from 25 years of teaching writing and literature at Portland Community College. He had also taught in New England, Appalachia, and on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. His poetry has appeared in Chest, Four Quarters, Loonfeather, RE:AL Artes Liberales, New Mexico Humanities Review, Fireweed, Oregon East, Evening Street Review, and many others. Arc of the Ear is his 3rd chapbook of poems and was released by Finishing Line Press in 2015.


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