Backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks are stuffed with papers and pencils and pens. Backpacks are strapped, strapped over their shoulders. They exit the house with no time to relax. They board the bus, backpacks packed on their backs. Will they make it to their room? Backpacks are unpacked at their seats. They find boxes of markers and crayons and scissors and glue. Don’t forget, there are tissues for their teacher, too. Backpacks come back, back from the bus and back through the door. Backpacks are dropped against the floor. Backpacks come back with arts and crafts. It was the best day ever and they cannot wait to go back. Backpacks are stuffed, backpacks are stuffed. Stuffed with more papers and pencils and pens. Backpacks leave through the door again. Backpacks come back, packed with books. Books of cats in hats and rats that chat. They learned how to read and write. They want to do it alone tonight. Backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks exit and board the bus. Backpacks hang from the backs of their seats. Backpacks are unpacked. Inside are bigger books, books with chapters, books needing bookmarks, books with big words that require bigger books to learn. Tests are returned. It is covered in red. It isn’t packed in the backpack, it is thrown in the trash, instead. Backpacks are stuffed, backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks are stuffed with binders and textbooks. Textbooks about the Earth and textbooks about the people on it. Textbooks about math but someone changed it again and it’s a bunch of bull—. Backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks leave and backpacks return, this time packed with books about their bodies. Books about the birds and books about the bees. Books about the flowers and books about the trees. When did those flowers bloom? Backpacks are stuffed and backpacks leave the house. Backpacks board a new bus. Backpacks unpack at unfamiliar seats. Backpacks are stuffed, stuffed into lockers. Backpacks are ripped from their shoulders and emptied onto the ground. They aren’t wanted around. Backpacks return and it was the worst day ever and they never want to go back. Pack. Pack their bags. Bags are packed and go through the window. Bags return a morning later. Bags in arms, bags under eyes. They decide to go back. Backpacks are stuffed, backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks are stuffed with cell phones and laptops. Backpacks are brought to basketball practices, backpacks are brought to band performances. Backpacks are brought back home, stuffed with sheet music and athletic shorts. Backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks are restocked, backpacks are stuffed with supplies. Packed backpacks board the bus. They arrive at a foreign location. They proceed with caution. Backpacks return to new lockers. Backpacks are stuffed with assignments and projects and exams. Backpacks enter the house. How was their day? Backpacks are good. Backpacks are fine. They are good and they are fine and they are good and they don’t want to be asked anymore. They don’t have time like they did before. Backpacks are stuffed, backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks are stuffed with car keys, condoms and whiskeys. Backpacks enter a bustling house, backpacks are unpacked. Backpacks are brought upstairs, backpacks are brought behind closed doors. They are under the sheets. The others scatter into the streets. Backpacks are stuffed, stuffed into the backseat of a police patrol car. Backpacks are brought back home. What do they have to say? Backpacks are stuffed, backpacks are stuffed. Backpacks are stuffed with counseling service guides. Backpacks are left behind for dates and dances. Backpacks parade through the halls. Backpacks are packed, packed with yearbooks and signatures. They have so many friends for their age. At least, that’s how it appears on the page. Backpacks are stuffed, backpacks are stuffed with cards of congratulations. Backpacks are unpacked. Backpacks rest by the door as they step out in cap and gown. Backpacks, tattered and worn, can rest easily now.
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Oh, My Word! Jacob would love to hear from you after reading this story. He recently performed it live at an open mic event to emphasize the lyricism of the piece. He invites you to consider reading it aloud, too. Leave a comment below!
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