On the Last Day of High School

by Susan Sklan

Nine of us are lined up
like show girls,
laughing at the camera,
hitching up our skirts
to show the curve of our thighs,
thrusting our hips out
in that brazen way
that you do when
you’re eighteen
and you think you are free,
through with rules
and now it’s your time.

We don’t know yet that one of us
will live in the midst of war,
one will become fabulously rich,
one will lose her hair
and still smile,
one will live with a rock
band in a commune,
one will be attacked 
by an angry man,
one will paint a perfect copy
of a Japanese watercolor,
one will cross a desert
on a camel,
one will collect spiders
and milk them,
one of us will marry and be happy.

For now we line up together for the last time,
face the camera,
bare tender necks
and dare the world
with our hands on our hips,
in that come on over sexy look.
We can’t wait for what will happen next.


Susan Sklan is an Australian now living in the Boston area. She is a social worker and published poet. Poems have appeared in Better than Starbucks, Folio, Gulf Stream, Journal of Progressive Human Services, Kalliope, Pleiades, Polis, Sing Heavenly Muse!, Sojourner, Soul-lit, Lilith,The Centennial Review, The Muddy River Poetry Review and other journals and anthologies. In 2018 her poem “On passing an old lover’s address” was selected by the Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Program and is now installed in a sidewalk. Her poetry chapbook The Letters has just been published by Main Street Rag, 2/23.