Friday, November 25, 2011

High School


Assigned to a table with Kristin Johns
and gems tucked in a box.
Our washing spigot gleamed bronze,
dripping our Xerox:

Moh's Hardness Mineral Test.
A metal file and glass.
Her T-shirt stretched across her breasts.
We knew, the whole class.

"Do you want to see my baby?"
Kristin Johns asked.
"I got a picture of my baby
here in my bag."

Pearly talc is softer than gypsum,
but mirrors scratch both.
Gypsum looks like a rose blossom
I dutifully wrote.

At thirteen I'd seem sonograms
from when Mom had Abbey.
At thirteen Kristin's sonogram
showed a ghostly baby.

Smoky quartz can crush talc,
a greasy white poweder.
The baby's face was white as milk,
its fists closed on a ladder.

"My daddy says the baby's ugly,"
Kristin Johns laughed.
"He said my baby is ugly,"
Kristin Johns laughed.
She rustled open a Tastee-Cake,
put the picture away.
The baby slept in its glossy lake
someplace far away.

– by Tyler Mills
(from Antioch Review, Summer 2011)