Senior Year

Deep breath, and turn
right, 15, left, 03, right 17
a long meeting I am coming from
where I took charge
asserted myself, and stood up for
my beliefs
without treading toes
My impulse was to quit, but
I instead worked for change

I slowly amble down
the empty hallway
In the commons, the cheer
leaders practice
their cheers as steady as
my slow breathing
I watch them perfect
a stunt and
smile when they are successful

I leave, smiling
This is how high school
is supposed to be
this is how they
told me it would be
Cheerleaders, newspaper meetings
echoes of basketball practice
from the gym door

I finger my car keys
in the pocket of my coat
I think that the cheerers
and the basketshooters
are a part of me
I think, 
This is what it means
to be a senior

Outside, the ground is crusted
over with soft white
Jupiter rises over the tennis courts
the cars in the parking lot
wait in the soft chill

Inside, I am silent
I feel the quiet of four years here
steal across my heart
After all high school has been,
it is finally peace
and I think,
So this is what it means
to be a senior

18 November 1997