Maintenance catches two students fucking

             between finals on a green felt pool table.

             It’s been an open secret—the in loco parentis


             security camera went loco,

             hasn’t worked for weeks.

             A student about to fail


             for turning in less than half her work,

             sobs into her hankie, says she forgot.

             Asks if being a mother is an excuse.


             The chess club runs amok

             in the main building, trashes the pretzel and chip

             vending machine.  Someone etches chives die!


             on the tipped-over metal.  Onion-fried crisps crunch

             underfoot.  Solid rain.  Stacked ungraded blue

             books on the window sill


             are soaked, pulpy, bleed purple ink.

             The longer you look, the stranger it gets

             —a sign outside Physics.


             Three teachers behind closed doors,

             I am resting, not to be disturbed.

             The halls are empty now.  No poppy in the pale


             green walls; no wonderful macaw

             to speak in strange dialect.  Just flaking
             paint and mutter from a cranky water fountain.





                                                                                                     Susana H. Case