by John Calvin Hughes
Something’s in her hair,
and the pretty girl has lost a tooth.
In the quiet ticking of lunchboxes
chalkdust rises from the floor.
She puts her head on the desktop
and several students lie on the floor,
coughing. When will it ring?
A large piece of ceiling
falls in the back of the room,
and the experimental snake is loosed.
White mice scatter.
Children run, slipping in paste,
ribbons flying, papers
slapped silly. Now
the angry custodian blocks
the doorway, boots
unlaced, black tongues
I FORGET YOU EVERYDAY
You said it was forever, Liar.
You put your hand inside my shirt
and told me you would do anything
for me if I would do everything for you.
You put your hands in my pants
and breathed on my neck.
What didn’t I do, Big ‘Un?
Maybe it’s not a big deal.
But I’d like to see you transformed,
like a tree branch that bursts
into beautiful flame, like a fig
newton run over by a car,
you stupid, stupid boy.
I hope you die.
I hope they have to bring
in flame throwers to try to put
you out, you’re burning so bad.
Oh yeah, you’re bad, all right.
But what about me and the sister
immaculate inside me. What about
the voice that is so great within me?
You little shit!
John Calvin Hughes has published poems, stories, and criticism in numerous journals and magazines. He is the author of The Novels and Short Stories of Frederick Barthelme, a critical study from the Edwin Mellen Press.