Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Like seagulls
they descend at the lockers
between classes,
the rendezvous
texted during algebra.

Katana’s hair, layered, teased
45 minutes, to look casual
—can’t find her notebook—
Maureen stole her mother’s
perfume, fills the air. Jesse displays
an iPhoto of Ms. Bulmer bending over.

They un-sheath their phones, share:
“Is that her underwear?”
The laughter slices
the unmonitored air,
photos fly to Facebook.

Three abreast, they cut
through the
middle school halls,
a battleship and two
destroyers, the waters part;
the Lunch Room Monitor
a step behind, struggling to find
his foghorn voice,
“Girls, no, wait, wait—“

They dock in sixth period
science where the seventh
grade boys circle like tug boats
dumbfounded by the curves
of each hull,
trying to remember their nautical
terms, formulas, square knots;
hoping to connect a grappling hook,
plant an anchor.

And the Sirens’ screech splits
the ocean
each yearbook photo
staring off the page
tagged with:
Most Likely To…
Walk on water
Feed the peasants
Lose her head.


razor iconEd McManis works with students with learning differences in San Francisco. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Colorado N. Review, Comstock Review, California Quarterly, Rhino, etc. He and his wife, Linda, have two sons, Jamie & Sean.

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