Professor Plum

Cleaning, cracking jokes

with another cashier,

I turned to find a former

student standing in line

like Christmas Past.

It was slow, close to closing.

I was halfway into my bit,


How’re you? Find

everything okay, today?—

before I recognized him.

Oh, how are you?

I asked again, laughing,

reaching for his groceries.

Eyebrows frowning,


he smiled, landed

his basket with a shrug.

How’re you? he asked.

Oh, you know, working

to feed my teaching habit.

I opened one paper bag

inside another with a thwap.


He studied me carefully

bagging his groceries,

his professor. Last semester,

he came out to me

in his final essay.

I wish I could answer

his face, wish I had more

than bags to hand him.



Activist, musician, photographer, Radical Faerie, and prize-winning poet, Sugar le Fae (PhD) has taught English Composition and Literature for over 15 years; served as Social Media Director (2012) and Poetry Editor (2013) of PRISM international (UBC); and published dozens of poems and essays across North America. Follow Sugar on Instagram @sugar_lefae.