To step out of the lunch line is
to have a brief out of body experience.
I can see me
hugging the straps of my purple backpack,
like it might keep me afloat,
or let me take on the characteristics of an inanimate object.
Backpacks can cross countries and oceans
without becoming lonely, or vulnerable, or ruffled.
They only become a bit dingy. Only
turn a greyer, more heathery purple.
But I am human, and staring at tables, and suffocating slightly:
Where will I be welcome? And
How long can I stand here, holding my tray,
before I become more awkward and out of place
than I already am? All around me
there are shapes, and their edges have no openings.
Closed circles, close knit.
Where do I sit?
I am becoming my backpack, after all,
purple from holding my breath.
Sometimes it’s easier to think
about colors and shapes. Sometimes
it's easier to stare at the lines on the floor
than the classmates leaving the lunch line.