High School was us and we. We learned our grammar there.
Became devised by bells sawing halls sharp as number two
pencils: we grew thin, grew dark as men in its hallways, we
grew up on men, our breasts their beards, their beards our
breasts, while we cracked open beer cans in the Girls’ Room,
swug down foam minutes before walking into Homeroom.
I was known to be dumb, detentioned, a kill myself kind of
girl, but it was you who shot herself in the head. What kind
of girl shoots herself in the head? You wanted a quality kill?
Take some sleeping pills, spare your mother the blood-grief.
You always took the hit for me. Turned around in your seat.
Did you hear what they said? Yes, some of us are intending
to go to college. Loser grief. Then the tarry hot of the parking
lot rose up, black, promising me any boy’s face bent to crack
against my face that was becoming a face: when we wanted
what we all wanted. To be pretty. Which then meant famous.
Reprinted from Oracle: Poems by Cate Marvin. Copyright © 2014 by Cate Marvin. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.