when i was sixteen years old
holden's words were echoed to me, ironically
in a voice not his own. phoney, he'd call it,
but as my literature teacher would say 'reading aloud'
but too softly
too kindly for the room, nineteen of us
all with bored, hooded eyes -
and wouldn't he just hate us?
the boy awkwardly ruffling his hair and turning to
his reflection in shiny glass, smoothing more strands
and the girl whispering and the one next to
her pretending to listen, smacking gum
and me, tracing words with my pupils
doodling stars and clouds on scrap paper
'what do you think of holden?'
'he's weird', 'he's right, i guess?'
but i pity caulfield.
and if i could travel back in time and
scoop up all of holden's baby teeth and
tie them in a little necklace and wrap them around
his neck, i would, and if i could tell
holden caulfield that childhood and cigarettes
are the same: both end.
but it is up to you what you do afterwards
and if you choose to grind it in the ground, do so,
and if you choose to carry on and smile, do so