Lynn Aprill

In the Schoolhouse

A summer bee bumbles through
the window as we sit, a one-room
Sunday school, in the schoolhouse

where my father stood
with his cousin-best-friend
and stared hard at the camera,
tough at ten, in the schoolhouse

where my grandfather learned
8th grade arithmetic, then left
to start his life as a farmer-carpenter
on land 500 yards from the schoolhouse

that his grandfather built–that august immigrant
who left his homeland just in time to fight
a civil war in his new one, who missed
the birth of my great-grandfather
while surviving the Battle of Nashville–
back in 1894 for $289.00, so that

generations later, I can sit
at a wooden desk, tracing the ancient
carvings of pocket knives, memorizing
“Beautiful Savior,” decorating egg carton
crosses with plastic posies
pilfered from the next-door neighbor
graves of my ancestors.

Educator and poet Lynn Aprill’s poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets calendar, Bramble, Pure Slush, and in her upcoming chapbook Channeling Matriarchs with Finishing Line Press.