Sonata in Suspended Smiles

“I smile to hide my depression” he laughs, and I
pause too long; the smile drains. He laughs
again; uneasy, now. He won’t ask why
I froze; the silence whispers paragraphs.

“This homework gives me a panic attack!” She grins.
Her temple vein pulses; I twitch in response
As blood drains from her. No-one wins
this game of truths. It’s an all-around loss.

“You’re driving me crazy,” she giggles, shoving
happily by. The manic tinge of fear
gives lie to the laugh. Not surfeit of loving–
I bleed sympathy. No safety here.

“My teacher is psycho,” he mutters, angry scowl
bolding his words, the slight (imagined or real)
made distant by his self-righteous howl
of judgment. No chance of appeal.

“The kids are nuts,” she sighs, and all doors are gone
for students who just needed to find one.



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