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Ode to a High School Hallway

By Liliana Lopez, Clarion Sections Editor

 

i.

head throbbing, no pop in my ear,

Or iPhone in my hand,

sitting on the steps of the third floor.

We sit together, after hours, in

the C wing halls

because you don’t like books.

Beige tile meadows, sprinkled

Here and there

With wildflowers left by youth:

Doritos, Pepsi, lunch trays.

The brick sky overhead,

Gleaming with Edisonian sunshine.

We read the funnies,

Featured weekly on staircase rails

And bathroom stalls in Sharpie, we

Listen to rap in Cantonese and Korean,

We are these stairs, the footprints are my skin,

The foregone gum under the rail, my mouth

Among so many other insignificant

Dried-out sticks of gum

A high school hallway is

So many of us and

None of us at all.

 

ii.

maybe it was pop, or oldies,

Or a Samsung CRUSH_X565,

as we sat in a classroom devoid of class,

Sitting together, after hours, in

any hall, because you don’t like books, and you

finally read one.

Gray asphalt fields, sprinkled

Here and there

With dandelion wishes blown by youth:

An education, a love, a life.

A natural sky overhead,

Gleaming with cerulean gerontocracy and

an ozone layer quietly burning.

We read the news,

featured minutely on websites we’ve never heard of,

Users we’ve never seen (it’s all fake news anyway, I heard)

We are these stairs, the footprints are my skin,

but my mouth is no longer a

foregone gum under the rail, amidst

So many other chewed-up, spat-out, sticks of gum.

A high school hallway is

so many of us and

None of us at all.

 

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