When the girl who looked like sun rays fell
and twitched like an electrocuted fetus,
most of the third grade class laughed.
Some even pointed as if marveling at shooting
stars their fingers forming a miniature firing squad.
When their lightning-eyed teacher - frantic
from lack of control - ran out of the room
The next minute passed like a stuttering mistake.
Each second writhed with a fullness of life
known only to overlooked grass stains
and casualties of war. The chorus of whispering
giggles blended with the tap- scratching
of the young girl's shoes to form a ghost song.
Smirks metamorphosed to fright. The classroom
became a convocation hall. Students vomited
their envy of her beauty and drank healthily of worry.
Girls discovered cutting boards in their wrists
where jealousy would grow.
Boys unearthed empty liquor stores
from stomachs that would foster lust.
As the earthquake of blonde hair and smooth
skin mellowed to a hum, the teacher shot back
into the room like bullet lead birthed from a revolver,
an emotionally-measured school nurse
mimicking a whiff of smoke. They knelt
beside the child as if on a lawn broken glass
and placed bouquets of comforting words
at the girl's tombstone face. The firing squad
transformed to a 21 gun salute. The teacher
and nurse became pallbearers lifting her
by arms smooth as chrome. As they walked her
from the room, the entire class again marveled
at her beauty and paid respects to the perfection
they loved to despise.
This poem originally appeared in C, C & D online literary magazine and was later anthologized in print in [bound]. This poem also appears in The Mattress Parlor (Scribble Fire Press, 2011).