Pockets of Youth: Turtle Soup

she sat on the school bus

in the back surrounded by stupid boys,

stupid me.

she was from Tennessee.

she spoke with an accent

something southern, something sexy

but still sort of strange.

so we teased her with,

“turtle soup, turtle soup.”

so clever, cruel,

“turtle soup,”

before and after school.

well, one day she was scratched by a cat,

her cat, maybe our cats,

she showed us, we laughed.

they were shallow cuts,

a decision was made.

but incisions were made,

up and down her wrists. 

as the bus stopped and stopped,

the boys stepped off one by one

until it was just us.

“you did this,”

she said so sweetly, sharply.

it cut through my psyche,

through time.

i wonder if she ever thinks of me

when she reaches into her

pockets of youth.

the boy who slit her wrists.

turtle soup, turtle soup

“Turtle Soup”

©Steven Cuenca

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