the children tucked away behind supply
cases on the floor of the PTA room,
silent, swelling, farting,
Jordans, sweats, Baby Phat,
while subs, chairs, and pencil
pushers, captains, coaches, and lecturers
took two o’clock lunch at the small table
dragged in from the corridor.

I leaned against the bookcase,
watched ribs rise and fall
and wondered if Jazzy would make it.
Wouldn’t she
run to the auditorium gasping for air
saying, No, like most classes.

We had been dancing the reverence,
walking around ourselves
on both sides, picking up
flowers, thanking corners,
balconies, orchestra, our partners,
when I turned down Bach
and waited for the hairy box
to croak again, Shelter in, shelter in.
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