Catholic High School

They sent us forth under false pretenses.

They sent us forth with the false idea that we knew the world,

knew where we stood,

knew what needed to be done.


In truth, after graduation, we landed like turnips off a turnip truck:

stunned by the world,

confused by reality.


Some of us stood stock still, rigid in the pretenses.

Others floundered, running blindly toward any sacred security.

And what of those trying to collect meaning as a little boy tries to capture frogs?


And me, dumb as a doorpost, hanging onto the strap on a subway car,

Letting the coach sway and shake and screech around me,

waiting for a stop that looks good,

getting off for a while to look around.


Each stop had its own smell, its own dirty tiles,

Its own people to walk past as they slept.

Back Bay, Dorchester, Waltham, Roxbury, Manhattan, the Bronx,

Mexico City, Bangkok, Hanoi….

“Oh the Places You’ll Go” doesn’t begin to cover it.


I settled in a town much like Middlemarch,

surrounded by flower smells, leaf color, neighbors,

far from the madding crowd,

on ground that does not move.


About alicebarrett

Small town writer
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