Summers were the antidote
For wounds inflicted by the words and silence
Of the cruelest people I know:
Blissfully unaware of empathy or mercy.
I donned a skirt I’d never worn–
Ill-fitting, handmade, and hand-me-downed–
Perhaps an attempt to play a different role in this year’s performance.
It was inappropriate armor for my return to battle.
On the front porch,
My father tried to coax a smile,
Or at least turn my sullen gaze toward the camera.
From there, I walked alone,
Clutching a bag lunch and a binder
Too grown to admit fear
Past the smokers
And knots of cool kids
To the front doors.