Square Root of 4th Grade Hate

We will like each other, you said.

It is only a matter of time, you teased.

Truth was, you couldn’t stand the way I always

pet my braids while thinking and I hated your guts.

Not hate. Hate’s a strong word, or so I’ve been told.

But I didn’t like you.  Didn’t like your pedantic questions

and yogurt breath in the cafeteria every morning.

Didn’t like your smirk.


Good girls don’t betray their feelings though, so

you never know.  How could anyone with a sweet

smile and straight posture and hand in the air

to the square root of 144 question harbor dislike

for a classmate?


Push a good girl too many times and she’ll snap.

The snap happened. Seams split.


 Six years and two different schools later

you looked different and my heart’s zipper

caught on its cloth edges when you passed by

with your arm around a girl. You smiled at me said,

“hey, goldy!”and kept walking.


I didn’t know a girl could hold another so closely.

You were right. And you weren’t such a bad girl yourself.


Yours truly,


A. C.





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