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He is chosen for the smallest desk,
the one with the wobbly front leg
that taps the floor
as his crayon touches the paper,
a thin line, each square precise
as it arches into the roof. His houses
are always blue, the people
drawn with weighty heads, legs taller
than the bodies and smiles
which cut across the circles
with nonexistent noses.
He watches the snow gather
in the corners of the window pane
and carefully re-buttons his denim jacket.
The last wall is a thread,
the playground empty except for a few
kindergartners who tumble outdoors, scarves flying.
There is no one to climb the rocket ship.
Its bars, coated in ice,
attract no hanging bodies, no boys
to shove him under the door.
His knees scrape the cement and his hands
slide against broken glass. The sky is white,
whiter than the teacher’s blouse.
“Sit still, Tommy.” His crayon rips the paper,
leaves the last wall dangling,
piercing a yellow cloud. He draws a few spokes,
pine trees on the hill following deer tracks
away from the house, away from the classroom
with its long division and turning pages.

Robin Dawn Hudechek

Previously published in San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, 65