Grade School Cafeteria

When it has been

raining a lot

certain corridors

smell like the grade

school cafeteria. For the

first few grades I

was terrified of the

food and pushed it

together so the cooks

wouldn’t feel bad. Then

I was in charge of punching

tickets and gradually the

fear vanished and I

fell in love with

the baton of school-bus

yellow cheese always present

with spaghetti. I loved

the cooks, hair humbled

in nets, who hugged and

invited me out back

where they smoked beautifully

ringed packs of Lucky Strikes

and unfastened their stockings

from the hard tabs

that held held the

dark borders.

 

 

 

Angela Ball’s poems and translations have appeared in journals including The New YorkerAtlantic MonthlyColorado ReviewDenver QuarterlyFieldPartisan Review,PloughsharesPoetry, and The Southern Review. Her books of poetry include Kneeling Between Parked Cars (Owl Creek Press, 1990); Possession (Red Hen, 1995); Quartet (Carnegie Mellon, 1995); and The Museum of the Revolution(Carnegie Mellon, 1999). Her 2007 collection, Night Clerk At the Hotel of Both Worlds (University of Pittsburgh Press), received both the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Poetry and the Donald Hall Prize from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Issue #61 August 2016
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