Arrogance was in your smile
pinned against the page,
and I kept thumbing through the yearbook.

I expected forgiveness
or apology to turn up in a group photo,
but I only found your smile.

All pearly white and proud
in twist lip snarl mouth
and snap insult tongue.

I saw regret in my slouched shoulders,
mascara lined eyes and the distance
between pictures; categories in book.

I remembered your hands-all claws
tight gripped on my arms, and you were the mascot
led the way for all the other kids

in catcall chants and leer cheers.
I learned an uniform in balky clothing.
I learned to disappear into the background,

but you could always be found
in the pages of the school yearbook.
I had torched mine after you signed it.

I wanted to forget the precise curve
of the letters in your name, your smile,
your chin when you caged me.

I haven’t forgotten the smell of sweat,
dollar store deodrant or my fear.
When you reminded me,

that you followed me every day
and knew the color of my front door.
When they posted your mugshot on the evening news,

you wore arrogance as a part of your uniform.
I had to find you in the archives of our high school,
so I could finally reduce you to a photograph.


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