What Some Boys Do

by Robert Vaughan

I sat on the bus

same seat as yesterday

heat of  a mid- June afternoon.

Earlier my teacher,

Mrs Starr, asked:

Why is the sky?

How is the ocean?

“What's in the bag?”

Joe Ferris presses.

His breath smells of

tuna fish. I squeeze the

soft bag tighter

between my legs.

Craig Neff peers

over their seat.

“Answer him, faggot.”


This is what some boys do.


I'm tight-lipped, breath held,

face flung.

I am flying through the sky now,

skimming over the ocean.

The brakes squeak as

the bus pulls over.

Mrs. Nolan, bus driver,

bellows “Turn around, Neff!”

My mother never warned

about the scarf I was

knitting for Grandma Meyer.

It was pink, her favorite color.

My mother never explained

this is something you do

at home. She never said

this is what only some boys do.

What she did say is

when your grandma sees

this scarf, you will make

her very proud.