MYSTERIOUS MAEVE

Driven to our inner city school in a long black
Cadillac from the land of larger homes,
ringlets of red Celtic hair close to her scalp,
she seemed outside her natural habitat dressed
in a uniform, enormous earrings dangling
round and silver from a fashion trend
years ahead of the other girls, and a grin
she wore that said, “I know something
you don’t know”

She moved among us shouldering a colorful
canvas bag with more books than our curriculum,
all A’s except C minuses next to religion class
on her report cards, slept during chapel,
brought her lunch in small plastic containers
of walnuts, sunflower seeds and honey,
an apple, orange, pear or plum in season,
dined alone on clear spring and bright fall days
reading a New Yorker or a Vogue sprawled
in the shade of a maple outside the gym

After the last bell she hurried to the same dark car,
never accepted an invitation to homecoming
or tried out for a role in a school play, left
nothing more than a photo and her name
in the yearbook, nothing about her life,
honors or future plans, nothing until spotted
on the evening news leading a lesbian march
in Berkeley with that same defiant grin,
a sign in one hand, other arm around
the waist of a laughing young woman

She did know something we did not know,
and some never would, or until much later:
the thrill of reveling in the pure and honest self.Driven to our inner city school in a long black
Cadillac from the land of larger homes,
ringlets of red Celtic hair close to her scalp,
she seemed outside her natural habitat dressed
in a uniform, enormous earrings dangling
round and silver from a fashion trend
years ahead of the other girls, and a grin
she wore that said, “I know something
you don’t know”

She moved among us shouldering a colorful
canvas bag with more books than our curriculum,
all A’s except C minuses next to religion class
on her report cards, slept during chapel,
brought her lunch in small plastic containers
of walnuts, sunflower seeds and honey,
an apple, orange, pear or plum in season,
dined alone on clear spring and bright fall days
reading a New Yorker or a Vogue sprawled
in the shade of a maple outside the gym

After the last bell she hurried to the same dark car,
never accepted an invitation to homecoming
or tried out for a role in a school play, left
nothing more than a photo and her name
in the yearbook, nothing about her life,
honors or future plans, nothing until spotted
on the evening news leading a lesbian march
in Berkeley with that same defiant grin,
a sign in one hand, other arm around
the waist of a laughing young woman

She did know something we did not know,
and some never would, or until much later:
the thrill of reveling in the pure and honest self.

By | 2017-04-30T16:41:17+00:00 April 30th, 2017|Poem of the Week|Comments Off on MYSTERIOUS MAEVE