A book slams shut. The door is too abrupt. A window closes loudly. In the hallway, someone drops their stuff. They don’t teach it in gym, but there’s a way to jump within your skin. To be shaken and never shake. To crack up but never break. The human body has always been fear’s favorite hiding place.
Two tall black boys race one another down the hall. Gender segregated groups take it easy outside the restroom. A teacher with his clean arms crossed tries not to do the same in his eyes. Three girls swoosh arm in arm heckling a single girl with her head down in front of them. It’s not cool for a teacher to say hey to you if you don’t say it to them first. All the cool teachers know this. But the nervous ones shout a student’s name like it’s the phrase on Wheel of Fortune. Then tell you take your hood down. Hide your phone now. Better not frown. Or that same teacher is going to make a show of asking how do you do.
The feeling of pulling up to work and seeing a cop car with its blue lights wheeling. An innocent traffic stop starts the mind off reeling. The look in the eyes of adolescents as you tell them to huddle on the floor in a corner while you turn the lights off and block the doorway windows. Don’t worry, just a drill. Said the carpenter to the board. Said the miner to the earth. Said the dentist to a rotten tooth.
The bottom, the basement, the hidden dank disgusting earthworks foundation of the human gut can only be struck by the sonar sound of workers screwing flag pole mounts into concrete in a classroom down the hall.
There is no eye in the room off of me. I hold them all. They help me see.