by Bella Rotker
The president of the academy
stares at me as I stare at Anne Marie
in absolute wonder. She’s reciting
an entire sonnet crown word for word
by memory. My teachers all confess
to sins. She points and calls me girly
in the blue skirt and I fall off my chair.
She’s less pleased with me now––my jaw’s open
so wide she can count my bewildered
teeth. I hold a shovel, ask if this is real,
like essays. She says sure. The shovel has
a painted face and everything. I call
my mom––These essays are going to end
me. But she’ll never understand it.
Bella Rotker studies at Interlochen Arts Academy. Their work appears in The Lumiere Review, Full Mood Mag, Neologism, and Best American High School Writing, among others. When she’s not writing or fighting the patriarchy, Bella’s hanging out with friends, watching the lakes, and looking for birds.