Elizabeth Crowell grew up in northern New Jersey and has a B.A. from Smith College in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry from Columbia University. She taught college and high school English for many years. She lives outside of Boston with her wife and teenage children.


Trigger Warning

Back from a do-or-die rehab,
Cody sat in my class, jacket-on,
sweet smell of pot floating off it,
hand limp over a book.
The year before he and his buddy,
a roly-poly kid with a baby face,
pushed each other back and forth
along the locker-lined corridors,
just a little bit violently,
like they were trying out
for being more than they could be.
The other kid is long gone.

Cody took his comeback hard,
class to class, the bells that hurt his head.
Three weeks ago, he was walled
by hard bunks and barred windows
where his mother left him.
He only had one book, which he read
again and again on his terrible solo,
cold night, no fire, animal eyes.
The book was The Hunger Games,
that youthful chase to last place.
and by the second time through,
he knew that almost everyone dies.
The day he came in black-eyed, bruised
the nurse said there was nothing to do,
He veered, wide–armed, to the corner,
where the shiny, dealer cars stopped,
sleek and gray, like wolves,
One day, he shaved his head
sat there, baby-like, brushing the fuzz,
His eyes were clear; he was starting over.
Good for you, I said.
Two years later he was dead.

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