For Twelfth Grade Calculus

Raise your head from the drunken pillow. It’s Tuesday

morning and school is inviting you to fall in its lovely little arms. 

Nobody in their geographies knows the way out of insecurity, 

so you pull the sleeves of your jumper down another inch. 

Your arms are like the line separating the dx and the dy

Your aggression towards them is akin to

pop quizzes during twelfth-grade fourth period.

Turn fingers into a fist, there is a lot of math left to do.

Calculate the vision of the boys who stare at your

bruised knees and bandaged wrists. You’ve grown

up afraid of eyes. So you exchange yours for brown

spectacles and never take them off. The boys still stare; 

think about their childhood halloween and

falling into bubblegum pools, they can’t hurt you.

Everyone is a costume and costumes have fake 

knives not real ones. Teenagers are sometimes 

not cruel. Are they? A girl stares this time, at the

medical room when you ask for more aspirin. It is

known that fear begets more fear but it also begets

migraines. Striking ache that is meant to be crowned;

Not run away from but you still run. It is difficult

being embarrassed by your own flesh. The hallways

seem like a racetrack, but nobody else is competing.

Why are you? What do you have to lose? Or to win?

Calculus is never a competition but a parade, we’re

all falling in step together. Step by 

                                                  step  we 

integrate          and            then            disintegrate.

There is nothing left to run from. You have

strawberry jam sandwiches for lunch in the corner,

the old teacher stares, at her book but beyond her

pages there is you. She is looking at you   you   you.

Calculus for dummies is continuous change,

you’re stuck in a pattern of following gazes;

you miss the heart strings stitched in blue 

cotton thread, a lot of friendships look like it.


     brings freedom

 that  only  makes  sense  

 once       you’ve lived through it. 

The classroom lights reflect against the bunch 

of keys tangled up in your belt loop. you can

recite your registration number by heart but 

what about the act of letting go when you must

when you must


to the   moment.

all this calm that is owed to you.

 when you must               

         look at yourself

 and       not      at who’s looking. 

all this chaos that is outside your share.

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