by Katherine Gotthardt

You can tell
the new ones:
they look the same,
one, long level
smelling like floor wax
and carpet and pride,
trophy cases
piercing the eye
with a shine
that never reaches
the three-story
schools with scuff
marks and nicks, dull
lighting, rough desks
with graffiti
and memories.

You’d think we
were more than
one county,
the way the “city”
kids dress—
more cleavage
and obvious boxers
compared to
the suburban rest—
the way trailers stack
up out back,
taking in overflow,
the way the meetings go:
Why do they get
to plan a pool,
but we don’t?

The new schools, yes,
they’ve got cash–
Smart Boards and art clubs
and fresh team garbs,
PTOs (of moms and dads),
demanding new soccer balls
and grass.

Meanwhile, somewhere
in a loud hall, some
teen carves his name
on a fifty-year-old wall,
then pens himself
a new tattoo.
You can bet
it’s not the school mascot.

copyright May 18, 2013, Katherine M. Gotthardt

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