Remembering Her Voice 

I have read this story of a young girl:
            Transferred to a new school, in the home room,
she quietly reads of power wars and sex

Althea: suffused by lucent Romeo.
Warm as alabaster, she mouths a speech,
learns speaking
her first Shakespeare. But she needs
to break it off, raises her hand to ask
permission. Next to her desk she rises,
heart booming, groin pinched as she drives her tongue
makes her stuck jaw work: “Please, sir, may I go
to the bathroom?”
                            She sees her question bounce
off the teacher in front of her standing.
He hoots silence: plexiglass wall of stone
metal, splotched dung-green, mud yellow.
                                                                    She hears
the snickering of the sassy white boys
faced around her
“Hey, ya gotta to go pee?”
(the other girls are tongue-tied, off-balance:
as girls or whites?)
she holds her ground against
the wobbling floorboards until the master
teacher, desisting from his dallying glare,
grants permission with a dragon's hiss.
The mouth in his face-shield glints.
                                                        I have read
more: Althea is stunned by his vicious pause,
quavers unbalanced, trying to think straight,
then swears: I will drag my body to stand,
each time I need to, at this wall. Those glass
colored eyes, stone-clad spite, I will stare down.
My skin I will wear against them, and blunt
the spikes in that man's beak.
                                               A mother's part
is not trancribed. Who will help that girl learn
how many times she will need to stand
affronted at that wall now looming down
to brunt her, tombing her as she reads love?
unless she teach her gorge grammars for rage,
speech her hammer to make stonemetal like glass crack.