The United States of Montessori

for Oray

We sat Indian style, & sang our pledge
to Audubon, painted birds on every wall,
& heard mirage when our teachers said
mural. We stole soccer balls from French
exchange, spiked them on the walkway
& yelled touchdown. My friend, where
are you now? We tripped over tree roots
racing to the playground, walked the sea
of wood chips to the plastic ship’s eye
& wheel. We bartered Super Donuts for
extra cartons of chocolate milk, played
duck, duck, duck, duucck, duuuuccckkk
goose. We vamoosed around a sunken
circle of laughter. We were hedgehogs,
were road runners & sombrero mice.
We were bullets, the Flash & every Green
Lantern; the Black ones, the White ones,
the alien ones too.

Copyright © 2022 by Clemonce Heard. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.