Hallway Song

By Hannah Schoettmer

Summer Camp, Texas, 2009

First I wake the body
to unring a bell—
as the proctor rolls up
I slam down right on the tit

of the sexy mermaid we sculpted
in the sand pit.
Now I wind it

as a cannon.
As a watch.
Feel that cool burn—
the metal door between me
and more

metal. I mean I look down
the hall—a dead
contraband flip phone

smothered in my bunk
bed.The blue glintoff
the handcuffs

that the boy has waiting
for me. I remember
the story—swiped

from his cop dad. I remember
the feverish red marks they left
the first time.

A little fun.
A warning.
When boys become boys

with weapons

there’s little girls that become
more body
than girl.

I told his friend no
(even after that sick-
sweet letter—even after
the other girls said lucky)

so this body is the fine I’ll pay.
But it’s alright. I’ve trained for this.

I know how to anticipate the bite.
How to flip the widow spider
on its back and press—

to kill.
Rather than tell
the all-male camp counselors
I’ll take this screwdriver, this pike,
this ad hoc chainsaw

found under a park bench,

and step into the thunder dome.

Headshot of Hannah Schoettmer

Hannah Schoettmer's writing has appeared in The Louisville Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, SOFTBLOW, The Shore, and elsewhere. She's received fellowships and support for her writing from Brooklyn Poets and the Seattle Opera, among others. She's the author of "Body Panopticon" (Bottlecap Features). She lives in Los Angeles. .

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