In first grade, I didn’t believe in nickels. Lunch
ladies assured me it was fine to pay for milk boxes
with nickels, but instead I brought pennies, exact change,
stubborn in my ways at seven, sure the nickel
wasn’t legal tender. Green lunch trays always
had a square for the milk box. We were always
expected to fit in our assigned squares.
I’m still stubborn in my ways at thirty-five,
paying for dinner with crumpled dollar bills, not
fitting into my assigned square, not where
I’m supposed to be. Everything around me is lifted
from someone else’s life. Something borrowed,
not new, not old, not blue. Milk boxes are glass
bottles now, moving uncertainly past their assigned squares.
Josette Torres received her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech in 2010. She also holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University. Her work has appeared in The New Verse News, Down in the Dirt, Eunoia Review, and is forthcoming in Ayris. She is the Writer in Residence at The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Virginia.