Villanova: Hicks

He came out of retirement flabby and bald and shaky (seventy?)
as math teacher to a hundred prep school boys eager for battle.

You could take the grade-book off his desk, 
right in front of his failing eyes, like this:
lay your binder on it while asking questions
lift your binder and his book Hey everybody Look!
change minus grades to plus and dot the homeworks
slip it back and Thank you Mr. Hicks.

His deafness permitted more than the usual rounds of burps and farts
like faking a sneeze by shouting Horseshit! through cupped hands
or Twat’s that Mr. Hicks?  I cunt finger you out.  You bareass Stanley.

We put alarms in his desk (drawers inverted) set five minutes apart
which went off perfectly (crashing from the yanked drawer)
just as he was winding down from scolding us for the earlier one
while we waited in stitches for the unstoppable last blast
from under the platform beneath his desk and chair.

I pulled the pins from the transom hinge
not intending the oak-framed glass to graze his skull
before crashing and exploding on the floor
(the turban bandage was a bit much for such a little scratch).

No one visited his room except before exams when fifteen or so
would crowd around his chair hurling last-minute questions
hiding his view of the one rifling the briefcase on his bed
for copies of tests which took all night to figure out.

The fun was done when he finally caught on to the test-caper.
Suddenly he wasn’t in his room the night before.
A few of us smelled a rat and played it straight.
Two pried his window to take the tests (leaving footprints inside the sill).
They were expelled;  most flunked;  and Hicks re-retired before Christmas.

“You got Mr. Hicks,” roared Fr. Sullivan “and you got Fr. Caldwell”
(he was in a rest home by Easter; no fun really, but we did get him)
“but you’re not gonna get me!” and we didn’t even try.