Second Week of Ninth Grade

It was stupid.

I should’ve waited
until I was home, in my room,
under my covers, maybe dreaming
before I said it.
I was walking that way.
I should’ve kept going.

It just jumped
out of me. The urge
to know Why.

Why Marilyn Andrews never wanted
to kiss me. Why her friend Sharon
never called after the Duck Pond.
Why my friends seem to disappear
soon as anything gets hard
and every class gets harder
and the teachers act
like they’re preparing us
for anything. Why no one else
seems to feel like this is all
wrong. So I just
asked,

Why me?

again
and again.

Out loud,
on the street.
Just as the bus
was lumbering past.

I should know by now what happens
on Friday doesn’t die with the weekend.

Monday morning, Brock,
who doesn’t even ride the bus,
is already manhandling my secret.

Hey, fag!

I said, Hey faggot!

When I turn around
Sarah Mapleton’s eyes are wide.
Yeah, Friday afternoon Matt looks out the back window
and sees this queer looking right at him, with his hands up,
shouting, You want me? You want me?

Brock mouths the words
with a huge O.
Sarah laughs nervously.

And then there was this time
we watched him and Sharon White
in the Circle at the Duck Pond,
for, like, an hour. He wanted to know
why her friends were so meeean.

He kicks my chair.

I’m telling you, Sarah, stay away.
He’ll turn your pussy green
or something.

Sarah bursts into huge laughs.
She looks at me through her blonde bangs
like I’m an ant.

From the back of his chair
Brock catches my eye
like he won’t let it go.

Added: January 24, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015