We were squished together like sardines
in a dark blue hallway,
the linoleum lights giving a warm and tired glow
on our sweaty and tired faces.
Tiny feet beat down on the ground
causing the ringing of drums to spiral
down that black blue hallway.
Then there was me—
tall and wearing too many layers for fall,
straight hair pulled too tightly back in a ponytail,
my tiny fist clinging to my shiny black box of plastic
with the only numbers inside being my mother’s and the house.
When the bell rang, the children sprang free
from the confines of the brick school house,
grubby hands pushing and shoving,
tiny feet drumming on pavement
until they hit the grass and took off
running across the hills toward wired fencing.
We all sang when we crossed the wired fence,
our feet slowing to a walk
until our hands found our silver door knobs
and we were finally home.