RECESS ACROSS FROM THE BORDELLO
The house’s windows are covered
by newspapers, sheets, a Mickey Mouse
pillowcase. It longs to be unbandaged.
The fence with metal diamonds digs
against our bellies, our uniforms splotched
by rust as we balance away from the jump ropes
and dodge balls. The women approach men
in their cars, squat in scalloped tank tops.
What they whisper in the chambers of their ears
is so important, it draws them to enter the yawn
of that house, not even glance at us pressed
against the railing. Teachers disrupt our thoughts
with whistle blows, and we spring away
like tree frogs, heads full of an alphabet
we can’t sequence. We know men will follow us
someday if we ask
the right question, that our torsos will lengthen,
and our feet will arch higher. That this school
with its dreary chalked stories will disappear
like the dust particles rising from the erasers
we pound hard against the wall.
Jill Bergkamp has most recently been published in Rattle, Sugar House Review, and Gargoyle.