E. F. Schraeder

No Peacock Feather (for the Student Who Wants to be an Adjunct)

Hands crack open my ribcage, excavate hidden meat.
Fingers plummet to muscle, claw the hair from my scalp,
tugging apart the skin. Don’t fret, I’m leaving soon.

Life is short in the study of this, the science of that, the theory of everything.
No special knowledge required for anything but surgery, take this gift:
you have learned something, swallowed it whole.

Whatever attracted you, sweet moth, know that the tower roars in flames,
roasting data, creeds, books, and canons. Departments bow and coo.
Your paper wings still moist, anointing you Icarus.

Paradigms shift. Clever memes and likability replaced mastery
with posed pictures of scholarship. Education is an appetizer.
Remember, it’s not Imposter’s Syndrome to the imposter.

Learn, I gasp and choke. Trust me, the College
will gladly hire you, consume you, digest you.
Welcome! Sit down. Please take my place, and enjoy.

Ethicist, poet, and speculative fiction writer E. F. Schraeder is the author of two poetry chapbooks, most recently Chapter Eleven (Partisan Press). Schraeder’s creative work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Sinister Wisdom, Mystery Weekly Magazine, Birthing Monsters, The Feminist Wire, and others. Currently an MLIS student, Schraeder holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. emphasizing applied ethics. Dr. Schraeder’s current projects include a queer monster’s coming of age novella and a full length manuscript of poems.