Day 14: Circumference

Ashley is a circumference’
scrawled in chalk
we giggled, i wondered
who was bold enough 
to taunt him; also
how typical, how yokel
our 45 pupil school
on the edge of nothing
clearly, the wag had no idea
what he or she was writing.

Turning it over in my mind now
Is Ashley a circumference?
Describing what circle?
Ah, at last I see
the dada brilliance of it!

Ashley is a circumference.
It could serve as oblique 
swearword - the circle
implied, for what is funnier to
grade six boys than that impulsive
irreverent bodily gate, putt-putting
and muttering unbidden
commentary ungovernable?

But say it were instead
a declaration of some young heart
that her (or his) love could be 
full circle, as described by Ashley.

If I had written it, in the moment
I’d have been sure that I meant
the first, for he was already front 
and centre in the bully ranks, a role
it must be admitted now, in which
while others grunted, he at least
had the grace to swashbuckle. 

Rich, conceited, handsome Ashley
everyone agreed, lovely little
Dorothy, the birdish blonde 
highschool sweetheart, mate
for life, was far too good for him
the circumference of ‘everyone’
in this instance, that set of all nerds
such that Ashley made us targets.

But now I think of the Winks
convenience store and gas station
where last I saw Ashley; both of us
buying some small thing, or gassing up
well in our thirties, my life flown
I was there visiting my mom, he 
from anything I’d heard, probably
running the farm now with Dorothy.

‘Hi,’ he said, like a longlost 
friend ‘How are you?’ he said 
like a neighbour, veteran 
of this specific war
to grow up and become 
real. ‘It’s good,’ he said
‘to see you,’ blowing away 
the chalk. We’re not a people 
for apologies, it’s the tilt
of a head, the understood
circumferences 
of our tiny world.

Today’s prompt, ‘circumference,’ took me back to childhood, and contemplating the human geometries.

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