Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Slips through the door everyday after nine,
late for the bell and still a gold star beside her name
Into the backroom where lunches in wax-paper
wait in tin boxes and brown paper bags

The rummage and rustle of mice
fingering peanut butter sandwiches
and my tartan thermos, a buffet of gingersnaps
and McIntosh apples but unworthy of bananas and grapes

Hushed little waif wrapped in her mother's dress,
hurried hems fraying from a night out long ago
She steals to her desk with her hands on her heart
and singular stare to the floor, far away

Then she raises a china-doll finger
to brush the crumbs from her lips
And the impudent mouths of the tough boys
gape in forgiving circles, goodly and godly
and the teacher weeps

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