Forbidden by Melissa Chappell

The air wandered around the

matronly figure of our schoolhouse

with a heavy hand,

leaving none of her children untouched,

but with damp backs and foreheads

wet as though we’d just come up from


I was in sixth grade,

fearful of school,

preferring to be at home

beneath the slow oak,

on my rope swing,

turning into an echo of

burning blossoms

swinging in the night.

And here was Jack,

in the desk behind me,

a boy with deep espresso skin,

who always looked at me a

shade too long,

sweat bathing his face,

hewn from the granite

in the play yard,

his body already becoming…

becoming lean and defined.

I was the one conquered, afraid of

the bothersome moth that was 

troubling my inmost inmost

feelings that wandered around

with a heavy hand,

the forbiddenness that has

baptized us in

the rivers we have crossed,

in boats we have not shared.

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