After the forty-five-minute bus ride
she shuffles through chilly hallways
to the cafeteria for her free breakfast
of jalapeño chips and fried sticks of string cheese.
The chewing muffles the beats in her buds,
clouds her thoughts the way the meds,
when available, sometimes do. Boy drama
among her girlfriends. Her uncle’s seizure
last week. How she’s not going to pass Math 3.
Through streaked windows she watches
the adults arrive: Teacher. Principal.
Counselor. Case manager. Security guard.
Women and men who might smile at her today
or give her a fist-bump if they’re not overwhelmed
by students with less optimistic names than Spring,
who sits alone with her sustenance and styrofoam,
dormant under fluorescent light, chewing, chewing,
1817 Central Avenue, Room 302
Charlotte, NC 28205
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