Missing School as a Sick Child

The chalk on the sidewalk means hopscotch

The sunlight too loud for this cup of tea

This house crawling with silence

Something’s always wrong with my body

I’ve been carrying for all these years

Am I wearing some kind of dream?

Fresh white sheets    Crisp yellow pillowcase

Far away    Sister Mauritius   The kind one with

the black beard calls out my name

That’s empty space not a shadow in my desk

in the back row

The alphabet is spinning sideways in the grooves

of my brain

Again & again she calls my name

So   I can be in two places at once

My mother downstairs sends my name up the stairs

I like how it rounds the corner of the first landing

& takes hard left turns

I don’t know if I like my name as much as my

mother’s voice lifting it — like a host –

through the bright emptiness of this  house

Somehow I am my name


John lives mostly in West Virginia where edits ABZ Press.

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