These heat soaked days take me back
to my first days of teaching. It was late
August in newly integrated Alabama,
pre-airconditioning. I was twenty seven.
Suddenly a fight broke out between two guys,
one white, one black. It was the end of the day.
I had had it. I stormed over, pulled them apart,
and yelled, “Stop it. Just stop it.” A stunned silence
filled the room as they sat back down. The silence
grew even stronger when I added,
“You just have to understand.
I simply do not do well in heat.”
That class never gave me any more trouble,
but from then on, even in the cold of winter,
one of them would ask how I was doing in heat.