August 26, 2008

James Doyle

SCHOOLGIRLS

Schoolgirls in black skirts
and white blouses water flowers
that bloom only in the night.

One of the girls wears a laurel
crown, another has a thin scar
down her leg and around her ankle.

The teacher, at the far corner
of the field, sands the ancient
clapper which will call them in.

The fence around the field
and school house is electrified,
but that doesn’t keep boyfriends

from trying to climb it.
Their bodies, strewn all over
the mesh, waste away much

too slowly. The janitor works
overtime to scrape them off,
but he can’t keep up. The girls are

studying biology, will get to stay
up late to watch the flowering.
When the clapper goes off, they line

double-file in order of height, march
out of recess to classical strains.
The fence fills up again.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007