Four students sit, sprawl, lie propped on elbows
on the landing of a high school stairwell.
Dressed in jeans, hoodies, and flip flops
hair braided and coiled - strands dyed green and purple.
Two are connected by one pair of ear buds,
both moving rhythmically to music
no one else can hear.
Chips, apple cores, pizza on paper plates
litter the floor.
A sociology textbook and a paperback
spill from a backpack.
One girl works a calculator
then jots in a spiral notebook.
Then gunshots echo down the hall.
Pauline Witte has lived in Wisconsin all her life and finds inspiration for her poetry from people and places in north central Wisconsin where she grew up. She now lives in Middleton and enjoys her garden and walks with her dogs on the Ice Age Trails.