our English teacher in Jr. High,
Mrs. Gredis, didn’t sit behind
her desk, she kept the front
desk empty and she sat on
the top of the front desk
and crossed her legs high and
we saw those long silken
legs, those magical flanks,
that shining warm flesh as she
twisted her ankles and re-
crossed her legs with those
black high-heeled shoes and
spoke of Hawthorne and
Melville and Poe and others.
we boys didn’t hear a word
but english was our favorite
subject and we never spoke
badly of Mrs. Gredis, we didn’t
even discuss her among our-
selves, we just sat in that
class and looked at Mrs. Gredis
and we knew that our mothers
were not like that or the girls
in the class were not like that
or even the women we saw
on the street were not like that.
nobody was like Mrs. Gredis
and Mrs. Gredis knew that too.
sitting there on that front desk,
perched in front of 20 fourteen
year old boys who would never
forget her
through the wars and the years,
never a lady like that
watching us as she talked,
watching us looking at her,
there was laughter in her eyes,
she smiled at us,
crossed and recrossed her legs
again and again,
the skirt slipping, inching
delicately higher and higher
as she spoke of Hawthorne and
Poe and Melville and more
until the bell rang
ending the class,
the fastest hour of our day.
thank you, Mrs. Gredis, for that
most marvelous
education, you made learning
more than
easy, thank you, Mrs.
Gredis, thank

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript