Daneen Wardrop: Gray Ghost

At Gray Ghost, West Point, I’m shut upstairs where Maggie Lunty locks me in her bedroom with her, says she’ll never allow me to leave, will keep me there beyond Christmas, beyond when we go to fourth grade, when she gets married.

She fields me when I lean toward the door, blocks me when I step.

I’m determined I won’t contact, keep patience as my best language, though panic shakes a red banner. Speak slowly, watch for weariness.

My parents will miss me, I insist, and she says with ferocious authority that they will not, so sure it would almost be rampant comfort to believe her.

Her will spreads multilateral, not contained by the room. She’ll kill me before she’ll let me go–

I know she can only slap me, though somehow I can imagine Captain Lunty killing me, clapping me closed in the accordion of his palm in a simple, regulation clap.

What will happen come dinner time, I ask, and she says she’ll keep me locked up, later sneak me water in her squirt gun,

pellets of meatloaf in her blue pencil-sharpener globe.

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