todays lesson

i first caved on which vs. that,
then on than and then,
and everyone’s fine with their,
one space after a period or two, who cares,
sliding down that slippery slope
toward half-inch margins
and 16-point mod gothic.
today i am announcing that
never again will i red-circle a letter
thats supposed to be capitalized,
the decisive moment arriving when
kevin ramby sat at my desk
and i pointed at the word i
in his gatsby essay
and he couldnt tell me what
was wrong with it, kevin ramby,
the smallest boy in english class,
a shy lower-case freshman
who i used to call rambo
until i realized the irony flew
over his head like a stray bullet,
bullyable little kevin ramby
who types just like he texts,
and 100 years from now
when im teaching kevin rambys
theyll probably wonder why
we used capital letters anyway,
wonder how we decided about earth
and queen and black and white,
we barely understood
the evolution of language
at least we appreciated
the egalitarian nature of spring

BARRY PETERS lives in Durham and teaches in Raleigh, North Carolina. His recent and forthcoming publications include Broad River Review, Connecticut River Review, The Flexible Persona, The Healing Muse, Jelly Bucket, Kakalak, KYSO, Plainsongs, Rattle, and Sport Literate.