the plastic box
with a colorful plastic screen
protecting my ham and cheese pieces,
and my Capri-Sun juice pouch.
With friends surrounding the table
and our backpacks nestling
on the dusty floor.
we slump in a classroom
with plastic walls between each desk.
The room is so still
that we’re afraid to talk.
So there’s no more recess, where we played tag
and dirtied our jeans when we fell,
or trading my brownie
for my friend’s chips.
There is no more watching our peers
mix ketchup and chocolate milk
and triple-dog-daring a classmate
to drink it
through a red straw.
There are no more crowds of friends
or whispering to the person on my right,
We read each other’s eyes.
We all knew it would be different,
one day, years away from sitting at
that long, brown table in third grade,
But not different like this,
Not the way we all live now.