Angela Ball

Grade School Cafeteria
July 25, 2016 Ball Angela

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 directs the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her sixth book of poetry, Talking Pillow, was recently published by University of Pittsburgh Press. She currently lives in Hattiesburg with her two dogs, Miss Bishop and Scarlet.