The Fifth Year Seniors

The fifth year seniors had been told often it was time, but they hung on with Members Only jackets and deviant eyewear. They called themselves Sauls or Mables, and when they said stuff they really meant snuff or moonshine or boas in iron bathtubs. These hoods were motley, had more gris in their gums than chupacabra, used their hips like lazy susans, spreading the goods of their swivel. Being isolationists, they slept in machines, churned when they moved and had spanked all the things they feared twice, which is what started the beef with our teachers. Hey old cats, we’d sneer sometimes, what happened to all your mates? Or, better yet, nice maritime tattoos. It was as low as we could go ducking by on wheels. But we knew to beware. They had full command of semaphore and those palms could silence our bright foreheads like oil could a rooster.

The fifth years lingered because they saw what came next might not be a five star salute. They took their time in lines. With the draft and other split pea rations, they understood any widget issued was propaganda. They rarely had exit strategies that did not involve fire. Parting was cold, their lips wide as the swells at Dunkirk. Minor bonus: After they’d cleared out we could have their meatlockers. But take heed; smoke hawks are drawing skyward. The new recruits are making us twitch. They are drilling a plank, fishing around about our papers.

Wendy Merry is a poet and writer from California. Her work has appeared in Dossier Journals 8 and 9, and she is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Arts. She currently lives in New York, where she manages a collective of street artists.