Cutting class again, I escape to the arts enclave through
the choir room and past adjoining office windows without being seen,
into woodwind storage where stacked piccolos and clarinets
cohabitate with saxophones, bassoons, and –
Darkness so complete, but I don’t need the light.
I pull a chair to the shelves,
And hoist my body into the portal.
The space behind the tubas is just enough for me;
enough for all my fears and failings,
for dreams, hopes, tears.
For the shame I knew when he caught me smoking in the rain,
and the way it felt when my best friend kissed
and then betrayed me.
I don’t remember the first time
I entered that quiet and felt the safety
of darkness deep enough to conceal.
Brown-painted plywood shelving units
for tubas and sousaphones.
I was driven by some unkindness or insecurity,
bully-words and anxious thoughts.
Knees pulled to chest,
my fourteen-year old frame
curled and rocked with tears.
Where no one would find,
no one would search.
Not that they even knew
I was gone.
Thirty-three and too old for hiding,
most days I still need a place like this.