High Tops and checkered Vans tread in crowded halls
Lanyards swing by confident hips and
Car keys jangle with pride.
Then, a water bottle crashes and clangs
On the hard cement
A new dent added to its neon skin while
We wince, look down, and do not smile.
Short hair is pushed behind ears pierced with hoops,
Gold and true
Headphones streaming sullen tunes
Cords tangled by our chins
Our backpacks heavy, the lockers unused
We hunch, look down, and do not smile.
The weather is fickle this term
Too warm for winter with frigid mornings and
Glaring at the bright sun and icy wind
We stubbornly don puffy down
As we shiver, look down, and do not smile.
In the hallways we frown
But in classes we drown
Beneath floods of thick papers and words
We do not smile at one another
For we fear that the other
Will not return a shy grin with their own
I wish that we saw that a wave has no claws
For then we would smile,
With wide, toothy grins
Our fists unclenched and our shoulders unwrenched
With phones in our pockets
Not our hands
And keys at our hips
Sharing stories through our lips
Not our thumbs
For then, only then, would we
Look up and smile.