Fiske Elementary Cafeteria

Before friends,
before the unimaginable mechanics
of sporks, before the small and inevitable death
of Arts and Crafts,
there is the lunch line.

Miss Miller will not let you go
till you finish the book report
you half-wrote
on the playground that morning.

You never miss lunch,
but at least twice
in six years you will be the last
down the stairs, facing the orange
cement gauntlet of lunch-ladies
so weathered you can’t believe
they once mothered children
who ate here.

Sometimes you think you are in the stone belly
of the school. And your best friend probably
saving you a seat by the window
is the last thread stopping you
from tearing loose
into the parking lot,
down Route 9,
to the Reservoir.

Added: February 17, 2012 | Last changed: May 11, 2014