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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:

ruffled reconnaissance.

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.


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