Third grade-
the year of chalk dust
forever floating past my desk

& Cora, the cupcake girl—
partnered up with me
at a student desk built for two.

Each day her Barbie lunchbox
carried chocolate Hostess cupcakes
in signature lines of white squiggles

& snaking rivulets of vanilla cream.
Lure used to attract her swarm
of classroom honeybees.

Each day at snacktime Cora deftly used
the pearl-colored cardboard dividing
the cupcakes down the center.

Afterwards she’d name three classmates
whom she’d chosen to share with.
My heart a hollow note.

Each day I practiced secretly
words I’d say if chosen…
yes please I’d love some thank you.

Instead she named me Spanish girl.
I pretended I didn’t speak it.
I pretended I didn’t understand it.

The same way I pretended
I didn’t care for cupcakes.
Third grade—

the year I learned to become
someone other than myself
around the art of slicing cupcakes.

Louisa Muniz is a reading/writing tutor. She lives in Sayreville, N.J. with her husband & son. She holds a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Kean University. Her is published in Rose Red Review, Tinderbox Journal, Snapdragon Journal, Words Dance, Menacing Hedge, Poetry Quarterly, & is forthcoming in PANK Magazine.