Being in class (4)

On Good Friday yours is the only program to show up, and after some checking, they let you in. You have forgotten to come up with an intro question, and when you invite one, a woman suggests “what Easter means to me.” You say you’re Jewish and Easter is just quiet, and a college student who’s also Jewish loved the chocolate bunnies that are chocolate straight through, felt betrayed by the hollow ones. A Chinese student learned about Easter in school, part of learning English. Then a woman you’ve known for the longest, a warm-faced woman who is writing a children’s book, says she’ll be the first to talk about religion–“Thank you, Jesus!, who continues to die for my sins, which are many and continuing.” Rush of laughter. And this seems to you part of the constant claim, from the women, the officers, the court, that people are here for a reason; and the laughter a valve momentarily releasing the pressure to take individual responsibility. For your colleague, the holiday marks a brother’s death at 24: driving drunk on Saturday night, dying on Easter morning. Whose responsibility?

You invite in a colleague, a poet and teacher. She asks, If the sky were the color of your heart, what color would it be? You make “masks” with your fingers over your faces, a way of getting new perspectives, until someone peels away her fingers, says I’m still in jail. You read aloud a poem, in which the window speaks, and the “still in jail” woman says, If these walls could talk….The poet talks about being able to travel in your imagination, not to run away from your current reality, but also not to believe that it is the only reality. At the end of your session, she asks you all to write a second time, but not to share it.