The student mentions her issue with run-offs. I picture storm water finding an exit from
the streets. Hog waste sneaking into a family well. Finally, I read her essay and see what she
means. Black letters have escaped the page’s margins, have fled from format and rectangular
“How do I keep them here?” she asks.
I suggest a lasso, rounding words up like cattle.
She shakes her head, says, “I’m no good at throwing and looping.”
Handing her a plastic bowl, I say, “Hold the Tupperware at the edge of the printer.”
She gives it back and shakes her head. “Already tried that.”
“If you had run-on sentences I could help,” I say, holding my red marker at the ready.
She leaves my office, slump-shouldered and downtrodden.
Feeling like a failure at first, I eventually realize that I can’t solve every student’s