miz king

Amy Lauren  •  Bradenton, Florida

In the produce aisle, my teacher squints
as her wife holds a bag of grapes
against the fluorescent lights, both
sets of eyes scanning for bruises.
Skinny stripes on my teacher’s wrists

flash in the supermarket’s white.
Before her eyes leave the grapes, I grip
the metallic handle of my cart,
steer down the aisle.
The first time, in middle school,

she rolled up her sleeves to carry a stack
of papers: “Miz King, who hurt you?”
called a jock from the back. The black belt
framed on her desk suggested no one
could hurt her. Yet the scars glared.

But today, wheeling past produce, I think
how she wears a short-sleeved blouse;
they faded, those lines,
visible only in harsh light
which spares no wound.