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Sour Cream


Adam Gilson

Something happens to them in those three months
They come walking in on calculated footsteps.

Their creamy faces pocked with indecision
Their creamy faces pocked with indecision.

You cringe when you look at them
You remember what it was like

Sitting on those cold mornings
In rooms bigger than football fields.

Hoping not to be called on
Hoping not to be real.

They would see anyways
... the hair just so
... the nose just off
... the chest just wrong
they would know.

The little walls you hoped hard behind
built in the car ride there
would come crumbling down without a word
because they would know.

So you would sit still
remembering what you read about predators.

Maybe no one noticed.
It didn't matter
you noticed.
You saw it stare at you in the mirror that morning
no matter how much eye rubbing
or blinking
or hitting you did.
It still stared back at you.

You would have torn yourself apart flake by flake
piled it high right by your feet
make your parents come upstairs
reshape what they so poorly made.

It was their fault.
You wouldn't let this happen.

Now those kids are sitting there before you
Each row a firing squad.

The one in the middle looks down
His shoulders scrunched up to his ears.

He's silently pleading "Don't touch me".
He's shouting "Look at me!".
Everyone around him hears it.

And he knows.

His creamy face pocked with indecision
His creamy face pocked with indecision..

He doesn't understand that it does not matter: all
this passive torture ends magically in four years.

We sit in our warm lecture halls
take notes
get in Adult cliques
and are praised for our differences.

This is how grownup-ism works.

You see their creamy faces
and you want to hold them
to let tears dry on your shoulders
and rock them
let them know
that it will be just fine.

You get hurt anyways
they have no recourse.
Anger is not an option
because you know.

Sometimes what we need
are those firing squads.
To see our self in a pile
staring back up ... have our parents rush up
and apologize for how they made us
which feels even better
because you know
how that hurts them.

Their creamy faces pocked with indecision
see your hard face
and scream a memory at you

sitting in football fields once
looking up at
dead hard faces,

wanting to tell
dead hard faces
if they just remembered being young,

if they could just relax for a minute,

it would be just fine.

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