I was the smallest in the 8th grade
4 feet, 10 inches of terrified.
Trapped in darkness--
Blinding, literal darkness,
scored with one slash of light
at the bottom of the door
--a bleeding wrist.
Like my body,
the closet was too small for the storm:
fear, sweat, tears, snot, salt on my tongue
as I bruised my fists on the door and begged
for help that I knew
was. not. coming.
Because it was Friday after school,
before spring break,
and half the class knew where I was.
They let the door lock with a click,
jackal laughter, and then all that was left was me.
Alone in the dark.
Trembling, I was a tornado, a hurricane,
of salt spray and the breath ripping
from my lungs.
I am going to die I don’t want to die.
Please someone please
Years later, I remember the door opening.
They told me it was only twenty minutes
but it felt like years,
like I had forgotten what light was
and warm and safe.
I had forgotten how
And I forget again, as, for an object lesson
the teacher shuts the door,
clicks off the light.
My ears ring with my rescuer’s words
“It must have been an accident.”
8 years and three inches laterI am still too small for this tempest.