(I wondered what happened to this poem. I found it hiding out in my music file, plotting its escape with the help of Veruca Salt.)
out of thin climate-controlled air,
a belated debut in the doorway
of sophomore English, day 8
of the school year.
Everybody stared, he was impossible
to read. His name was strong,
was the stomp
of a winter boot,
a blunt punch
stupid lovesick chest;
through my brain,
then behind my lips,
ravaging the remains of my good sense.
I wanted to trace that name with my finger
across his chest; I wanted to hear my name
escape from behind his lips, expelled
in a warm whisper against mey neck.
All the boys hated him. They growled,
bared their claws as he passed,
acknowledging none of them. His body
was a hundred thousand snow-stomping
steel boots, upsetting the avalanche
that should have broken and bloodied me —
But I learned to dodge, to deadbolt every door,
even inside the ranked, layered orbits of my friends,
around which the new boy was now spinning.
October, November, December —
Until one morning
at the peeling of the bell
he reached for me. Flushed
yet freezing, I looked up,
clasped his hand, and he pulled
me off the bench
and onto my feet.
And we walked without haste
into that dreadful building, and his name
became a warm blanket, laundry-
fresh and plush. For the life of me,
I can’t remember where I left it.