The last day of school, Mrs. K
reads Psalm 144, our parting
benediction: that we may be graceful
like pillars, beautifully carved—
& she keeps saying this over & over
until she’s crying in her hands, graceful
like pillars! I think of Washington DC,
historic pillars: bulky wide marble.
I’m in 7th grade & why would I ever
want to be a pillar? My worth:
being pretty & still, holding up
another person’s palace? I imagine
all of us girls, carved & holding up a roof:
Grace’s face in mid-snort-laugh; Kathleen’s eyes
up to the sky, looking for Orlando Bloom;
Christine with her magazine teeth, smiling
her fake-friend smile, fresh pigeon shit
on her nose. Me with my chubby cheeks,
eyes half-closed in prayer, asking God
that I be made more than a pillar.
All of us in our uniform shirts
& knee-length skirts. All of us,
ready like Samson to break open
& shatter the palace to pieces.