After Lunch

It’s Friday. Lunch has been served. Kids are playing.

A screech bellows from the corners of buildings 100 and 400.

It echoes off of the jungle gym.

Whistles blow.

This all stops the play.

The last minute screams of pleasure

and nose picking seize.

as jostling children fight to freeze.

standing still,

with their arms stretched to the sky like swords

ready to execute their peers.

Crooked smiles that house crooked teeth

slowly fade when the youths look in the direction of the

fat underpaid teachers who stand

in front of white numbers that glow

on the black asphalt.

A line that was once bright red

fades in various spots

where naughty babes spend their recess.

Older women who are both afraid and too poor to retire

blow their whistles once more

screaming to the children from their aching throats to walk to their class numbers,

but no one hears them.

White collars are now brown,

the blue polyester uniforms wrinkle and crinkle around the butt,

ashy from sitting in dirt.

The children line up orderly.

Arms behind their backs, sun burning their foreheads.

Their leaders stand before them with a clipboard and roster.

In unison, grudgingly, names are read,

“Peter...Adam...Cynthia...Lisa...Samantha...Faith...Tegan...Brandon…”

Herds of “here’s” are heard.

The small line of soldiers march into the classroom.

Back outside the aide’s rearrange the blacktop

to its original state.

Black and red checkers and their board, back into the box.

Pink, yellow and green glass-like marbles with flowers inside them and their Mancala board,

back into the box.

Several navy blue sweaters with the school’s mascot lay in a small mound, a lunch pail or two, sunglasses with a banana pattern, sneakers, and tupperware

off to the lost and found.

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