An old man, grizzled, passes by the schoolhouse,

Where students stand defiant, hands at their chins;

Stony, stoned, rebelling

When there is nothing to rebel against.

Not here, anyway, in the town where sprawling fields surround the homes like each one is wearing a ball gown with a long organic train,

And some people feel the need to advertise their habits, in

Bumper stickers


scratchings scrawled across pavement.

It is one such work of illicit art

That catches the old man's attention, so, leaning forward

Takes in with rheumy eyes the tell-tale spread-out leaves,

Fanned like a black jack dealer might hold her cards,



An excuse for something oh-so-secret,

And he ponders the various confectionaries of his youth,

The high-flying sweet-smelling contraband

Smuggled between classes and worked into conversations,

Held like a badge of honor while the proud scent of smoke permeates the air,

Leaving a trail of experience,

Of rebellion,

Of excitement,

Until the wind blows through those empty hallways,

On the weekends when no one is around to hear the stories and like a washer-woman removes all traces of evidence,

Dissipating any smoke that might still cling to lockers




And then there is nothing left.