Morses Pond II

You’re very welcome, Mrs. G.
Alice mentioned your birthday
and it just seemed like the right thing.

Mrs. Gavelston smiles.
It’s very charming.

I blush
and she winks
at Alice before setting off
toward Mr. Gavelston
at the low-dive.

I can’t believe you bought
my mother flowers.

I shrug. What else
was I supposed to do?

Nothing, you wacko. Alice laughs.
She’s not your mother.

Well, but she’s your
mother.

What does that mean?

I look at Sheila Rothburn’s house.

Hey, I wanted to ask you:
did you come to the calculus
midterm high?

Now she blushes. Shh.
Did it show?

You never show.

Then how’d you know?

You pretend to bite your thumb when you’re stoned.

I do?

A little. You’d never know
except I’ve seen you do it a few times,
and never when you’re straight.

Hm. Am I stoned right now?

Hm…. I look under her eyes
left and right. Bite your thumb
and I’ll tell you.

She laughs.

No way I’m giving up
more secrets. Anyway,
why do you want to know
about the calculus test?

That’s kind of it: why
go in stoned?

She shoots a glance to the sky.
Oh, you cut so deep!

Seriously!

Seriously!
I don’t have a pat answer.
You really want to know?

I wave my palm over the beach.
I got time.

Alice leans on her towel
and stares over me.
She stares that way a long time.

Do you ever have a dream
where you’re obviously supposed to be
doing something, but you can’t shake
the sense it doesn’t matter? Maybe
because it’s already done; because you did it before?

I snicker. All the time.

She exhales. It’s like that. Every day
I go to class feeling like I’m the only one
who notices I’m not wearing any pants.
Does that make sense?

Is this… like what we talked about
that time you rescued me from Track class?

Oh, wow, I’d forgotten that!
What did I say?

You kept having this dream about someone
choking you with a dress.
Something like that.

Hm. I think I’ve always felt that way,
about everything. Pass me an egg sandwich?
I just don’t see what good learning math
for engineering will do me
if I’m going to sing. Or dissecting frogs.
Or a war that happened four thousand years ago
five thousand miles from here. Really.

I know everyone complains about it
but no one’s ever convinced me
there’s a good reason.

Okay. But don’t you think
it’s a little disrespectful,
going in high?

She winces
a little. It’s that
or don’t go. And if I don’t go
who knows what happens.

I wish I had your… balls.

Alice laughs. It kills me, because
they’re just people
and they’re just trying to hold
it all together, too.

I catch myself
staring at her just before
I think she notices.

Could you be available
as my part-time superhero?
Could you get me stoned
before class, and then come sit
with me while Mrs. Derrian demands
I draw perfect circles before the bell rings?

For you, she smirks, it’d b—

Added: January 30, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015