Haley. 3

She sat on the wooden bench

Her rain boots dangling

Water dripping

She looked at me for an explanation

So much grief

devastation in a pink rain coat

“Do you want to play with me, Haley?”

I felt smaller than her

Patronizing and empty

I hope she didn’t feel that too

“No” she said.

Her eyes pooled and I drowned

Looking at her for a feeling I could discuss

We are both gasping for air.

Her mom comes

Looking better than I expected

But I’ve never been on a first name basis with it

The closest I’ve been is pink ribbons and commercials

I ask her how she’s feeling

Afraid to pry

Afraid to seem careless

They walk out of the classroom

And I stay on the bench with that little girl

Longer than I mean to.

Cory. 3

He screams at me

A lion cubs mouth

Of silver teeth

Like bullets he’s chewed

One day he came back from the dentist

And he showed them to me

Smile as wide as the horizon

Beautiful, but

Red

He spit at me

Exchanging Saliva for syllables

I grabbed his hand

Trying to be gentle

But he refused.

He screamed

Then walked near me

I saw tears that seemed like family

Familiar and consistent

I told him his anger was understood

But not tolerated

His Batman shoes were at my knees

He yelled.

Shiny teeth.

He put away his power

So I put away mine.

And while he breathed in between his tears

I remembered where his power came from

And I held his hand.