Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Nonfiction |

Shelter, in Place

The Kenyon Review · Shelter, In Place What is a teacher? A mother? — Lidia Yuknavitch, “Woven” Here my students are, in front of me. Here is Jamari, self-consciously growing out his hair; he runs his comb through it when he thinks no one is watching. Here is Darshana, so angry all the time that she picks fights with girls twice her size, thinks I’m mocking her when I say, Good job. She can’t believe in love that’s not a trick. Here’s Mitchell, who writes knock-knock jokes on scraps of notebook paper, leaves them crumpled under his desk for me to find. Abena: her mother made me dried okra soup when I visited to tell her about her daughter’s failing grade in Spanish. Sophie draws me pictures of elephants on her worksheets.  I am twenty-four years old. I have been teaching for less than three years. I have no children, except now I have these. I’ve never so much as changed a Band-Aid, never touched a child’s blood. No small voice has ever c

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Sydney Tammarine’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, B O D Y, LIT Magazine, and other journals. Her “Blue Hour” was selected as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2021. She received her MFA in creative writing from Hollins University and is Associate Professor of English at New Mexico Military Institute. She is currently at work on her first collection of essays.

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