The sound of my foot as it snapped at the flank
was viscous and crystallized at the edges,
quilted, like cracking your knuckles under water.

The school bell contracted the calm of the hallway.
I startled up from the glazed desk surface,
breathing wrinkles sweated in my starched oxford,
and, Quick, I took a scissor-kick to the floor.

The neon-lit nurse’s office had goldenrod paint on the walls.
He knotted me a bag of ice cubes that bloated to water.
The swelled side of my foot was pulsing out warm,
pushed out to a rounded form. I limped to my car in the school lot.

It almost rained outside, again.
The sidewalk blocks framed clots of wet, brown leaves,
and the gravel, soaked, would cavity beneath me in a light-drained