by Michael Thomas Ellis

She sits in the back where the eyes can’t burrow into her.
Please don’t look at me.

A pale murmur fades through the room it comes to attention.
Why does she let him?

Hands raise randomly to unheard questions.
She doesn’t know.

She looks for answers in the cover of her unopened book can’t find any.
Please don’t call on me.

The clock ticks away but only she can hear it.
Rachel looks nice today.

Rachel passes a note to a boy.
Maybe this year.

Another boy in the front row answers correctly reminding her.
This isn’t my fault!

A black and white kite glides by just a few yards beyond the window.
What should I do?

The teacher looks at her pauses then looks away.
I can’t do this anymore.

Rahim reaches across touches her shoulder asks if she’s OK.
I have to be stronger.

The day’s assignment is explained to them.
Tonight I’ll write a poem.

The bell startles.
Maybe that will help.

She watches as they file out the door.
Maybe he won’t tonight.

Photo by @ammarahmed via Pexels