First Night of Seventh Grade

I’m in a hallway.
I think it’s late.

My sister is crouched
in front of a door
below me.

What are you doing?

I told you, I might
have to pick the lock.

But… why?

Because the janitors
are paranoid. Keep your voice down.


I look down
the hall: foam-green
cinderblocks and bad paintings.
Oh my God, we’re in the—

Just wait for me
by the Nurse’s Office.

Uh huh…

It’s hard to shake the sense I’m walking
in a dream: the walls almost seem to wiggle,
the floor pulling me somewhere else.

Of all the doors the janitors forgot
I can’t believe the Nurse’s Office
is the one. And there’s no nurse
now, pushing me back to class.

I wonder if I hated this place
because I longed for it:
that tingly feeling
in my crotch
when she parted my hair
for lice. It was like lucid-dreaming
I just pissed my bed.

Suddenly, this room is magic and alien.
So of course Night is here.

She’s in the main office,
across the hall: short
black hair and a t-shirt for a band
I can’t figure out. Night probably
has awesome taste in music.

I start getting ready to knock
on her window
when my sister shouts
a whisper from the far hallway.

Of course.

Just when I was starting
to wake up.

Added: January 21, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015