Different

I remember

the plastic box

with a colorful plastic screen

protecting my ham and cheese pieces,

my crackers,

and my Capri-Sun juice pouch.


With friends surrounding the table

and our backpacks nestling

on the dusty floor.


And now

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.


Now,

It’s different.


There are no more crowds of friends

or whispering to the person on my right,

or smiling.

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.


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