: Elementary School :

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an excerpt by Chris Forhan

I was good all week, got
a gold star for it, so great
was my cowardice.

No muck in me, Mom.
When the flood came, I’d be there
with my bucket and sponge.

In the meantime I hunched
at my desk and practiced
subtraction, lunched on whole milk

and baloney. My attendance
was perfect. I was conspicuous
by my absence, was nearly

a Bellini cherub already:
cloud-borne, smug
chubby head and feathers.

Wind, while my pencil drew
oval after oval after oval,
what shenanigans were you up to?

Snow swirling earthward
past the flagpole, what party gown
had you fallen from?

What would I think now
had I thought then
to swallow a palmful of chalk dust,

guzzle gutter water, give
a quick lick to Debbie’s neck,
been more imperfectly dead?