Ellen Remembers Belén

Speed up! she said,
thinking it meant wait up.
Cheryl got a wicked look in her eye,
passed it to the rest of us, like always,
and we took off running, as Belén
stood there bewildered, like always.

Cheryl said.
We taught her some English.
I wanted to speak up, I did—


you know how it is, when you’re
popular but not at the very top.
It takes maintenance of some things,
some people. Neglect of others.

Whole books have been written about that.

I could have written one myself, or about
how if you’re lucky, you eventually
become nicer in ways that aren’t too painful.

But I wasn’t nicer then.


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