Middle-Schoolers

In the morning,

there are some who arrive in their winter jackets;

the arms are stretched and softened with ware, the cuffs are a permanent

stain of grey. 

They carry the smell of last night’s dinner, and the static of leaving the pillow

too soon.

Some wear shorts in the snow, their rail-like legs shivering towards the

temperate classroom where they will soon be wakeful when they warm.

Many are lumberers, 

unable to move within the space they know. They are foals newly felled to

the ground, all knees and elbows commanding contact with the brain. 

Some walk with the emboldened confidence borrowed from a baseball

field, the soccer pitch, or an end zone. Their eyes are tired; their bodies are

sore.

They are hungry and hungrier;

they would pull up the grass from the roots if they could.

Mask straps encircle and change the form of their ears; 

just the slight drop from an unfamiliar nose, and their blanketed faces show dimples that

couldn’t have been guessed. 

There are braces, and pimples, and smiles to match the eyes we thought we

could read. 

There are scars we didn’t know were there. 

They are lucid and nebulous at once–

sated and decanted within the same moment.

Funny, insecure, sad, curious, hurt.

Happy.

The building absorbs their stories.

Each classroom wall is thick and sound with their changing voices, 

and over the taupe sameness of lockers

every narrow hall echoes the perfect frailty and difference of their youth. 

2 Comments

  1. Ruth Ann Roberts December 14, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Wow. You nailed it. No wonder you are such a loved teacher. Can I share with PEO?

    Reply

    1. Karen Hanson Percy December 15, 2020 at 2:48 am

      Yes, of course! Thank you for reading!

      Reply

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