Downtown Teaching Farm: A collaborative Project of boise High School

Twenty - Twenty

Michalah Sherman 

Twenty deaths in twenty minutes

from a force seen not by the eye 

but felt by the utter magnitude of loss.


Hearts breaking like leaves crunching beneath feet on a crisp fall day

with every step taken 

the boy gets as close as he can to the window to say goodbye to his mother.


Her last breath in a room full of exhausted faces 

covered by the same masks from days prior.

She was all he had.

He falls to his knees with his hands glued to the window of her room and

tries to remember her touch that he hasn’t felt in weeks,

and will never feel again.

He rips off his soaked mask to wipe the tears that have found a home upon his round and 

reddened cheeks and 

catches the sympathetic smiles of strangers that reside six feet away in their marked circles.


How can an invisible threat create such a spark for change?


The children pile in to their classroom 

once their teacher lets them in from the waiting room. 

While some cameras flicker on 

others hide with secret hopes of recognition.


Masked with anonymity 

creates a deeper desire of being noticed

even by the ones who say their microphones don’t work.


As a future educator—


I see we need to speak from our hearts though ours are hurting.

I see these are human beings though we are faced with no face to look at.

I see these are our children before they are our students.

Each word typed through the screen matters, 

each second granted with human contact counts, 

and every voice is just as important

whether it’s booming through the chat or

spoken from a nearby desk or

whispered through the school laptop. 


Sometimes it feels like selecting “all of the above”

is another way of saying—

this is my best guess. 


As a future educator, I know that

there is always an answer.

Even if it is your best guess. 


Students behind a blank screen with their name on it, 

or students raising their hand in the classroom. 


They matter. 

They are loved. 

And they need to be reminded of it. 


We can all give our best guess, 

and make the best out of what we could have never guessed.


The boy who lost his mother 

may be a future student of mine. 


Whether he talks to me through a screen or

types in a chat box or

stands by my desk—

She was all he had,

And as a future educator—


I’m all he has. 

Michalah Sherman is a Junior at Boise State University, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English Teaching with a minor in Creative Writing. Michalah has a strong desire to work in secondary schools where she can share her love of Language Arts with students. The Coronavirus has not only transformed the way students learn in schools, but has impacted the way that they learn outside of schools as well. Michalah is more than ready to greet her future students with empathy, kindness, and love that is strong enough to overcome any obstacle – even if it isn’t seen by the human eye. 

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