By Cynthia Grier Lotze
Upper School English Teacher & Inclusion Coordinator
St. Catherine's School, Richmond, VA

I am an Upper School English teacher and the Upper School Inclusion Coordinator at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia. I spend my days in a southerly-exposed, book-filled, art-filled classroom, teaching students about language, its power, and its limitations. A poem makes room for a reader’s own conclusions, and I thought that instead of classifying or even diagnosing the link that, for me, lies between skillfully teaching literature and teaching in an Episcopal School, I’d do as I encourage my students to do: allow for valid testament to an experience to consist of impressions, fragments, and links that are offered through poetic device as opposed to empirically defensible reasoning. And let the reader labor alongside of me as I look to words, the Word, and the Spirit every day for better guidance in guiding my classes. Building in a little of this grace is instinctive to me as a poet, and an Episcopal School encourages me to do it, in alignment with their mission. What could be a better fit?


March Invocation 

The breath of g-d, God, our Mother, is
a sculpting, straight-line wind, here

to score a new heart in me. It is
Tuesday in this classroom filled

with light. I rise before
my students and reveal the Word

to myself, reveal words to them, these tools – 
a hammer, a level, a blade – so bridges

may be made not to fold
in on themselves, so those with prayers

like  ayúdame may begin
a new life, so a child’s heart

may be soldered back 
into her chest. All in the future.

But the Word is, is with,
is within the faces turned to me, this 

day of the unbroken wind. Breath
of God, cut my book to the page, my tongue

to the note that will cause no face to turn
away, winnow a new heart

in me, this cold, common day,
that the words of my mouth may rise up

as swords.  Ayúdame , unfold
my hands, unhinge

my shuttered heart.  Ayúdame.
Help me.  Help us.