May 06
poem challenge: CJP-Miss


Gone is, every day, without fail, the school bus
sometimes it's late and sometimes I am,
running across the street, backpack bouncing,
because I know our driver will wait--now,
I'm never late
unless I'm always late--I can't tell, because
there's no bus to be late for anymore.

Gone is carrying my chromebook from class to class--hugged in its case,
tight against the school supplies
against my chest--now,
it resides on the dining room table,
the purple case tucked into my backpack,

Gone is math class where
our teacher makes up number songs with
finger snapping and fun--now,
I'm staring at video after video on Khan academy,
asking my father for help.

Gone is always being
at least ten minutes late to lunch
(or maybe more, it always depends)
because, well, we talk as we
pack up and make our locker stops--now,
every now and then we manage to schedule a friend Zoom where
voices go all crackly, videos freeze and
we're stuck typing into the chat window

Gone, worst of all, are faces--
friends, teachers, classmates,
each one of them, once upon a time, an everyday sight
nothing special.
Now it doesn't matter if I once thought they were
friendly or annoying or
troublemaking, I just wish seeing them wasn't
scheduled into an alarm on my phone, "Team Zoom! 10:15!";
wish they could just be a given,
always there;
wish I could pull each little Zoom square
out from the screen I stare at all day and
into the room with me; wish that wouldn't mean
setting them all at risk.