The Maynard
October 2013

C.S. Fuqua


At the card table in the dark room with one window,
she grinned over the multi-hundred-piece puzzle,
and said the other teachers had known
about the paddle Campbell used,
the closet, the verbal abuse,
the ripped vaccination scabs,
but Campbell had been the principal's friend.
I did what I could, getting you into choir,
even when she said you'd be a problem.
But you weren't. None of you were.
Campbell, she recalled, never married
and quit a couple of years later
when parents refused to sit pat.
The kid who wet himself each day —
Suicide, I tell her.
She slips in a piece of the puzzle.
I'm glad you came, she says,
and stretches to close the blind,
then spots another piece to fit.
I hope it helps.

I thank her, wish her well,
leave her in that room
as I step into heat and sunshine
to thread my way to another address,
looking for someone
who may tell me more.