They taught us in greyness, leaded air-raid walls needing mortar and thick sun-kill curtains. The girl desked right of me always nervously tapped hers, so quietly, along the fake wood edge til she had grooved batches of notches keeping some unknown score. Maybe mark-timing our days, or teacher’s frequent use of
soft spot, find the soft spot, spot the softness and stick it in. Thigh and chest easiest, though down the throat can be quite good, or squarely in the eye with well-aimed strokes
Touching ourselves while teacher teached, imagining the feel of the stick-and-slide in another. Fantasies til the end of spring, when they butted our desks face-to-face. All our six-inches classroom-bound in hard safety sheathing.
Always her slight head tilt first, attempted artistry, staccato paintbrush penetrating all my spaces, my ribs, my accordion trachea folds. Never sorry at turn’s end, just offered to me her face, the bruise acne of my past, learning thrusts…
In four years since, in every battle, every conquest, every time I drove one home – her face, always the most soft thing.