Seventh Grade

Summers were the antidote
For wounds inflicted by the words and silence
Of the cruelest people I know:
Children,
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.

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Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

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