She ignored her mama’s warning
and went out that night
with a gang of tough dudes,
who rocked hobnail jackboots
and pencil-thin jeans.
They climbed to the top
of boarded-up North High,
swigging booze from paper sacks.
Most of our parents thought
she was nothing but trouble,
and nuns at the Catholic school
were sure she’d go to hell,
because she was too fond of boys.
But my friends and I knew
that she would always defend us,
whenever the bullies came around.
She was built like a Clydesdale,
heftier than most girls her age.
With her sloshed boyfriends
a few feet behind her,
she waved a whiskey bottle
in her hand and danced
over the dirty skylight
on the high school roof.
She must have felt such freedom,
staring down at the neighborhood
with no one telling her what to do.
I always wondered if she even
knew that she was falling,
before the leaded glass
splintered beneath her
on the floor of the auditorium.
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by Richard Kostelanetz
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