The Boy

He is not conventionally good looking,
except for those blue eyes.
He wears sandals every day,
button-down, collared shirts.
His hair is a mass of black curls.
He might be Spanish, Lebanese, Portuguese,
but his last name is generic.
I might want his last name
one day, so I practice
scribbling it rapidly,
as if I am signing checks
from our future joint account.
Something slipped from
his pocket one day.
I caught it but didn’t
tell him that he dropped it.
It was a receipt
from the library. He’d checked out
eleven 800-page fantasy novels
but not a single romance.

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Pennies Down the Hall

I walked down B-hall,
the one that’s always spiced
with pennies.
Upperclassmen fling them,
trying to catch freshmen off guard.
Every time I see them,
those shining, round,
one-cent moments,
they make me turn my head.
When I think no one’s looking,
I stoop to pick up a few,
they’ll bring me good luck
with him.
I check the years when
they were minted,
looking for his year,
1988, and make sure
it still shines.
I’ll keep the pennies in my pocket,
let them go through
the washing machine,
and try to bring out that shine
the way he shines.

Return to Chapter 3 | Read Chapter 5


Bullet Hole

I remember
one bit of graffiti
in particular.
But it was
and could hardly
be defined as graffiti
at all.
It was a shape—
a little hollow
in the hall
leading up to the offices.
I thought
it looked like
a bullet hole.
I imagined an irate senior
storming down the halls,
his face like a rain cloud
about to burst with frustration.
Maybe he was holding
a weapon
and made this particular dent.
I stick my pinky finger
inside it and wonder,
twisting my finger like it’s
a screwdriver,
as if my twisting
would enlarge the hole.

Return to Chapter 2 | Read Chapter 4