students carry backpacks
books in hand
classes will start soon

i hurry to get coffee
you’re heading back
to our department office

as i round the corner
my good morning
meets razor-lipped silence
you refuse
to look at me
stare straight ahead
at the ghost of a past
you wish

i sketch my own outline
against the sharp white backdrop
of this hallway
color in the lines
bold graffiti of being

what is the shape
of a refusal
to disappear

Christine Taylor identifies as multiracial and is an English teacher and librarian residing in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey.  She is the EIC of Kissing Dynamite: A Journal of Poetry and the author of The Queen City (Broken Sleep Books, 2019) and Petal (Bone & Ink Press, 2020).  Christine has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and her work appears in Glass, Turtle Island Responds, Rogue Agent, Haibun Today, and The Rumpus among others.  Right now, she’s probably covered in cat hair and drinking a martini.  Visit her at

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