Eight or nine, assigned to the front end of the first row,
uniform grey shorts and shirts
and gingham for the girls.
Cross legged, a compact darker boy
surrounded by freckled Amazons
with names like, Turner, Smith, and Brown.
My sense of the vertical:
the way the gritty asphalt is unsurprisingly Asian
and the sky something else.
The way the Amazons are untouchable.
I looked up
from a sketchbook hidden in my lap.
I was caught scratching my name into the desk.
I know I can’t hide from the sunburnt ones,
or try to draw a pony like Wendy Miller’s.
I’m faking a smile, passing, badly.
A faint whiff of glue.
All I want now is the Airfix kit
for the Spitfire Mark IV
or the General Yamato.
Perhaps that day something was learned,
something no one in that school had taught,
like how to make airplane wings
look a bit more level than before.
At some point before or after the shutter went click
I must’ve wanted to belong in their
selective order, stand in the top row.
But not then. A cloudy developer fluid
catches that eternal day in a silver halide print
that parents order in multiples
so a copy can emerge in a Facebook reunion group
50 years later. The day as black and white
and as grey as that,
in the only medium the world can see us in.