To my highschool English teacher

I don’t remember the details of why Lenny had to die
or why Gatsby was the way he was or the Irish poets
and their potato famine. I remember you never liked
the adjectives “good” or “bad”- lazy you said,
instead you taught me words like “paragon”,
that a metaphor is you – a red pen, cigarette and
espresso, an autumn breeze with crunchy leaves,
in your nest I learnt how to divine an oasis
from the driest texts, how to rip verse into morsels
and best of all, how to draw rivers from my well.