Six minutes past eight.
Tardy children sprint
through the courtyard
toward the classroom.
Before following,
I descry Mariella’s hair clip.
Unsure of the best method
for returning metal
to its hairlined origins,
I withhold it.

To me
she discloses,
“I’m sad today.”
preceding the emotion:

“My mother was at the hospital this morning.”
Witnessing a friend’s delivery,
she’d readied her camera,
but photographed a
stillborn bundle.
“You could see the parents crying in the background.”
Mariella explains,
“I don’t know them.”

I’m sorting through a bag
of craisins and almonds.
“Would you like my cashews?”


“Nobody likes cashews.”

“They’re my favorite.”

Originally published through the Texas State Honors College.


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