When the teacher says to
get into groups of three or four
for a project on
or something
and you turn to your friend
on the right,
but she’s already paired
with her home girls,
and you turn to your friend
to the left
but he’s got his gang
all rounded up
and you turn to your friends
in the front and
in the back
but you already know
in the back of your head that
they’ve all congregated

You’re like that buckaroo
locked in a duel-
middle of town-
hoping one of them
friendly neighbors
steps forward from
where they’re watching
in front of saloon doors
and porches
to negotiate some sort of
rational deal instead
but nobody does