It was a Friday.
Room 801 and 802
had a wall that moved.
It was mechanical,
mid-20th century magic.
And the classes were full
of 200 students who had voted
on Odyssey Academy’s
And there they stood.
The other nominees.
Flipped side bangs,
before it was hipster.
Various greens, khakis,
plaid shirts, and bloodied knees.
Sixteen year old girls. Tortured latchkeys.
Tapping their feet to the rhythm
of lovers in Ohio and chipped black nails,
sharpie lyric tattoos and symmetrical frowns.
Then there was me. Pink and green hair,
Dandruff on the shoulders
and wearing blue jeans with ratted
patches from pajamas I had torn apart.
Bracelets from wrist to elbow.
No confidence or social skills,
but with a low-key business slinging pills.
The results were in.
The students gathered ‘round.
our teachers smiled proud,
and when they read my name—
I woke up. Desk imprints on my forehead.
Crinkled award on the floor. Nobody left in the room.