We Bleed Black and Red


There is one picture of me at my graduation.

The sun was in my eyes,

but I forced myself not to blink.

I nearly rolled my ankle

trying not to trip on the fake grass.


The red robes were first in line,

their GPAs higher than my shoe size.

Those of us in black robes waited our turn,

our sashes flapping at our knees.


When called we walked like soldiers,

a sea of black and red,

as our teachers smiled proudly

and our families fought the California heat

on the bleachers.


Fifty percent of my graduating class

would go on to attend a four-year institution.

I remember thinking

that’s a lot of doctors.


When I stood in front of the school photographer

who told me to look straight into the lens,

I ignored the sun on my face and the grass around my feet.

As a college dropout, I look at the picture now and think

it would have been easier to blink and fall.


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