Elementary school
The clear plastic straw
On the side of a juice box,
Gnawed like number two pencils,
Squirting bright
Red splattered stains down
A wrinkled t-shirt.

We stuck to the fence better that way,
Our backs and mouths
Felt the
Cold silence.

Middle school
Lip gloss the color
Of balloon animals at the fair,
Squeaky twisted shapes that
Pop in the heat
Or at the hands
Of eager children.

The very sound of high school hallways
Sent fingernails into palms
Or over sticky lips
To whisper.

High school
The tangled seatbelt caught
In the passenger door,
Curling like nervous
Ribbon on presents
Stacked and scattered at the
Birthday party.

Identities passed around,
Bought and sold without a word
The stakes were high
And felt permanent.

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